Inhibition of bacterial biofilm formation and swarming motility by a small synthetic cationic peptide
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Biofilms cause up to 80% of infections and are difficult to treat due to their substantial multidrug resistance compared to their planktonic counterparts. Based on the observation that human peptide LL-37 is able to block biofilm formation at concentrations below its MIC, we screened for small peptides with antibiofilm activity and identified novel synthetic cationic peptide 1037 of only 9 amino acids in length. Peptide 1037 had very weak antimicrobial activity, but at 1/30th the MIC the peptide was able to effectively prevent biofilm formation (>50% reduction in cell biomass) by the Gram-negative pathogens Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Burkholderia cenocepacia and Gram-positive Listeria monocytogenes. Using a flow cell system and a widefield fluorescence microscope, 1037 was shown to significantly reduce biofilm formation and lead to cell death in biofilms. Microarray and follow-up studies showed that, in P. aeruginosa, 1037 directly inhibited biofilms by reducing swimming and swarming motilities, stimulating twitching motility, and suppressing the expression of a variety of genes involved in biofilm formation (e.g., PA2204). Comparison of microarray data from cells treated with peptides LL-37 and 1037 enabled the identification of 11 common P. aeruginosa genes that have a role in biofilm formation and are proposed to represent functional targets of these peptides. Peptide 1037 shows promise as a potential therapeutic agent against chronic, recurrent biofilm infections caused by a variety of bacteria.
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Copyright 2012 American Society for Microbiology. The attached file is reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.