Therapeutic potential of a scorpion venom-derived antimicrobial peptide and its homologs against antibiotic-resistant Gram-positive bacteria

Gaomin Liu, Fan Yang, Fangfang Li, Zhongjie Li, Yange Lang, Bingzheng Shen, Yingliang Wu, Wenxin Li, Patrick L. Harrison, Peter N. Strong, Yingqiu Xie, Keith Miller, Zhijian Cao

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5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The alarming rise in the prevalence of antibiotic resistance among pathogenic bacteria poses a unique challenge for the development of effective therapeutic agents. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) have attracted a great deal of attention as a possible solution to the increasing problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Marcin-18 was identified from the scorpion Mesobuthus martensii at both DNA and protein levels. The genomic sequence revealed that the marcin-18 coding gene contains a phase-I intron with a GT-AG splice junction located in the DNA region encoding the N-terminal part of signal peptide. The peptide marcin-18 was also isolated from scorpion venom. A protein sequence homology search revealed that marcin-18 shares extremely high sequence identity to the AMPs meucin-18 and megicin-18. In vitro, chemically synthetic marcin-18 and its homologs (meucin-18 and megicin-18) showed highly potent inhibitory activity against Gram-positive bacteria, including some clinical antibiotic-resistant strains. Importantly, in a mouse acute peritonitis model, these peptides significantly decreased the bacterial load in ascites and rescued nearly all mice heavily infected with clinical methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus from lethal bacteremia. Peptides exerted antimicrobial activity via a bactericidal mechanism and killed bacteria through membrane disruption. Taken together, marcin-18 and its homologs have potential for development as therapeutic agents for treating antibiotic-resistant, Gram-positive bacterial infections.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1159
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Volume9
Issue numberMAY
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 29 2018

Keywords

  • Activity and mechanism
  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Antimicrobial peptides
  • Scorpion
  • Venom peptides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)

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    Liu, G., Yang, F., Li, F., Li, Z., Lang, Y., Shen, B., Wu, Y., Li, W., Harrison, P. L., Strong, P. N., Xie, Y., Miller, K., & Cao, Z. (2018). Therapeutic potential of a scorpion venom-derived antimicrobial peptide and its homologs against antibiotic-resistant Gram-positive bacteria. Frontiers in Microbiology, 9(MAY), [1159]. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2018.01159