A synthetic peptide sensitizes multi-drug resistant pseudomonas aeruginosa to antibiotics for more than two hours and permeabilizes its envelope for twenty hours
Antibiotic resistance
Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Antimicrobial peptide
Post-antibiotic effect
Issue Date: 
PIUNA-P2011– 17
This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
Razquin-Olazaran, I. (Iosu); Shahrour, H. (Hawraa); Martinez-de-Tejada, G. (Guillermo). "A synthetic peptide sensitizes multi-drug resistant pseudomonas aeruginosa to antibiotics for more than two hours and permeabilizes its envelope for twenty hours". Journal of Biomedical Science. 27:85, 2020,
Background: Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a Gram-negative pathogen that frequently causes life-threatening infections in immunocompromised patients. We previously showed that subinhibitory concentrations of short synthetic peptides permeabilize P. aeruginosa and enhance the lethal action of co-administered antibiotics. Methods: Long-term permeabilization caused by exposure of multidrug-resistant P. aeruginosa strains to peptide P4–9 was investigated by measuring the uptake of several antibiotics and fluorescent probes and by using confocal imaging and atomic force microscopy. Results: We demonstrated that P4–9, a 13-amino acid peptide, induces a growth delay (i.e. post-antibiotic effect) of 1.3 h on a multidrug-resistant P. aeruginosa clinical isolate. Remarkably, when an independently P4–9-treated culture was allowed to grow in the absence of the peptide, cells remained sensitive to subinhibitory concentrations of antibiotics such as ceftazidime, fosfomycin and erythromycin for at least 2 h. We designated this persistent sensitization to antibiotics occurring in the absence of the sensitizing agent as Post-Antibiotic Effect associated Permeabilization (PAEP). Using atomic force microscopy, we showed that exposure to P4–9 induces profound alterations on the bacterial surface and that treated cells need at least 2 h of growth to repair those lesions. During PAEP, P. aeruginosa mutants overexpressing either the efflux pump MexAB-OprM system or the AmpC β-lactamase were rendered sensitive to antibiotics that are known substrates of those mechanisms of resistance. Finally, we showed for the first time that the descendants of bacteria surviving exposure to a membrane disturbing peptide retain a significant level of permeability to hydrophobic compounds, including propidium iodide, even after 20 h of growth in the absence of the peptide. Conclusions: The phenomenon of long-term sensitization to antibiotics shown here may have important therapeutic implications for a combined peptide-antibiotic treatment because the peptide would not need to be present to exert its antibiotic enhancing activity as long as the target organism retains sensitization to the antibiotic.

Files in This Item:
1.58 MB
Adobe PDF

Statistics and impact

Items in Dadun are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.