Antibacterial Efficacy of R-Type Pyocins towards Pseudomonas aeruginosa in a Murine Peritonitis Model

By: Dean Scholl and David W. Martin, Jr. | Source: American Society for Microbiology

R-type pyocins are high-molecular-weight bacteriocins carried within the chromosomes of some bacterial species, such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and almost certainly evolved from lysogenic bacteriophages of the Myoviridae family. They contain no head structures and no DNA and are used as defense systems, usually against other strains of the same bacterial species. They bind with their tail fibers to targeted bacterial surface molecules and then kill by inserting a core or needle that dissipates the bacterial membrane potential. Their mechanism of action, high bactericidal potency (one pyocin particle can kill one bacterium), and focused spectrum suggest that R-type pyocins could be developed as antibacterial agents. In a lethal mouse peritonitis model, submicrogram quantities of pyocin prevent death from 90% lethal dose inocula of a pyocin-sensitive, clinical isolate of P. aeruginosa. We show here the dose response curves, treatment windows, or periods of response after infection and the several-log-unit acute reduction of bacterial load in blood and spleen samples, suggesting that R-type pyocins have several characteristics that one would expect from an effective therapeutic.