Study Title:

Bactericidal effect of bovine lactoferrin and synthetic peptide lactoferrin chimera

Study Abstract

Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) is responsible for nearly one million child deaths annually. Pneumococcus causes infections such as pneumonia, otitis media, meningitis, and sepsis. The human immune system includes antibacterial peptides and proteins such as lactoferrin (LF), but its activity against pneumococcus is not fully understood. The aim of this work was to evaluate the bactericidal effect of bovine lactoferrin (bLF) and the synthetic LF-peptides lactoferricin (LFcin17-30), lactoferrampin (LFampin265-284), and LFchimera against S. pneumoniae planktonic cells. The mechanism of damage was also investigated, as well as the impact of these peptides on the transcription levels of genes known to encode important virulence factors. S. pneumoniae planktonic cells were treated with bLF, LFcin17-30, LFampin265-284 and LFchimera at different time points. The viability of treated planktonic cells was assessed by dilution and plating (in CFU/ml). The interaction between LF and LF-peptides coupled to fluorescein was visualized using a confocal microscope and flow cytometry, whereas the damage at structural levels was observed by electron microscopy. Damage to bacterial membranes was further evaluated by membrane permeabilization by use of propidium iodide and flow cytometry, and finally, the expression of pneumococcal genes was evaluated by qRT-PCR. bLF and LFchimera were the best bactericidal agents. bLF and peptides interacted with bacteria causing changes in the shape and size of the cell and membrane permeabilization. Moreover, the luxS gene was down-regulated in bacteria treated with LF. In conclusion, LF and LFchimera have a bactericidal effect, and LF down-regulates genes involved in the pathogenicity of pneumococcus, thus demonstrating potential as new agents for the treatment of pneumococcal infections.

Study Information

León-Sicairos N, Angulo-Zamudio UA, Vidal JE, López-Torres CA, Bolscher JG, Nazmi K, Reyes-Cortes R, Reyes-López M, de la Garza M, Canizalez-Román A.
Bactericidal effect of bovine lactoferrin and synthetic peptide lactoferrin chimera in Streptococcus pneumoniae and the decrease in luxS gene expression by lactoferrin.
2014 October
1Unidad de Investigación, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa, Cedros y Sauces, Fracc. Fresnos., C.P. 80246, Culiacán, Sinaloa, Mexico

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