Bactericidal Effect of Cecropin A Fused Endolysin on Drug-Resistant Gram-Negative Pathogens
J. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 2022; 32(6): 816-823
The rapid spread of superbugs leads to the escalation of infectious diseases, which threatens public health. Endolysins derived from bacteriophages are spotlighted as promising alternative antibiotics against multi-drug resistant bacteria. In this study, we isolated and characterized the novel Salmonella typhimurium phage PBST08. Bioinformatics analysis of the PBST08 genome revealed putative endolysin ST01 with a lysozyme-like domain. Since the lytic activity of the purified ST01 was minor, probably owing to the outer membrane, which blocks accessibility to peptidoglycan, antimicrobial peptide cecropin A (CecA) was fused to the N-terminus of ST01 to disrupt the outer membrane. The resulting CecA::ST01 has been shown to have increased bactericidal activity against gram-negative pathogens including Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Escherichia coli, and Enterobacter cloacae and the most affected target was A. baumannii. In the presence of 0.25 μM CecA::ST01, A. baumannii ATCC 17978 strain was completely killed and CCARM 12026 strain was wiped out by 0.5 μM CecA::ST01, which is a clinical isolate of A. baumannii and resistant to multiple drugs including carbapenem. Moreover, the larvae of Galleria mellonella could be rescued up to 58% or 49% by the administration of CecA::ST01 upon infection by A. baumannii 17978 or CCARM 12026 strain. Finally, the antibacterial activity of CecA::ST01 was verified using 31 strains of five gram-negative pathogens by evaluation of minimal inhibitory concentration. Thus, the results indicate that a fusion of antimicrobial peptide to endolysin can enhance antibacterial activity and the spectrum of endolysin where multi-drug resistant gram-negative pathogens can be efficiently controlled.