- Killing of mycobacterium avium by lactoferricin peptides: improved activity of arginine- and D-amino-acid-containing molecules
- Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
- Volume | Issue number
- 58 | 6
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Dentistry (ACTA)
Mycobacterium avium causes respiratory disease in susceptible individuals, as well as disseminated infections in immunocompromised hosts, being an important cause of morbidity and mortality among these populations. Current therapies consist of a combination of antibiotics taken for at least 6 months, with no more than 60% overall clinical success. Furthermore, mycobacterial antibiotic resistance is increasing worldwide, urging the need to develop novel classes of antimicrobial drugs. One potential and interesting alternative strategy is the use of antimicrobial peptides (AMP). These are present in almost all living organisms as part of their immune system, acting as a first barrier against invading pathogens. In this context, we investigated the effect of several lactoferrin-derived AMP against M. avium. Short peptide sequences from both human and bovine lactoferricins, namely, hLFcin1-11 and LFcin17-30, as well as variants obtained by specific amino acid substitutions, were evaluated. All tested peptides significantly inhibited the axenic growth of M. avium, the bovine peptides being more active than the human. Arginine residues were found to be crucial for the display of antimycobacterial activity, whereas the all-d-amino-acid analogue of the bovine sequence displayed the highest mycobactericidal activity. These findings reveal the promising potential of lactoferricins against mycobacteria, thus opening the way for further research on their development and use as a new weapon against mycobacterial infections.
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