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Membrane-Active Amphipathic Peptide WRL3 with in Vitro Antibiofilm Capability and in Vivo Efficacy in Treating Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Burn Wound Infections

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posted on 08.09.2017, 00:00 by Zhi Ma, Jinzhi Han, Bingxue Chang, Ling Gao, Zhaoxin Lu, Fengxia Lu, Haizhen Zhao, Chong Zhang, Xiaomei Bie
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has become increasingly prevalent in hospitals, clinics, and the community. MRSA can cause significant and even lethal infections, especially in skin burn wounds. The currently available topical agents have largely failed to eliminate MRSA infections due to resistance. Therefore, there is an urgent need for new and effective approaches for treating MRSA. Here, we show that a novel engineered amphipathic peptide, WRL3 (WLRA­FRRL­VRRL­ARG­LRR-NH2), exhibits potent antimicrobial activity against MRSA, even in the presence of various salts or serum. The cell selectivity of WRL3 was demonstrated by its ability to specifically eliminate MRSA cells over host cells in a coculture model. Additionally, WRL3 showed a synergistic effect against MRSA when combined with ceftriaxone and effectively inhibited sessile biofilm bacteria growth leading to a reduction in biomass. Fluorescent measurements and microscopic observations of live bacterial cells and artificial membranes revealed that WRL3 exerted its bactericidal activity possibly by destroying the bacterial membrane. In vivo studies indicate that WRL3 is able to control proliferation of MRSA in wound tissue and reduce bioburden and provides a more favorable environment for wound healing. Collectively, our data suggest that WRL3 has enormous potential as a novel antimicrobial agent for the treatment of clinical MRSA infections of skin burn wounds.

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