Simultaneous antibiofilm and antiviral activities of an engineered antimicrobial peptide during virus-bacterium coinfection

Academic Article


  • Antimicrobial-resistant infections are an urgent public health threat, and development of novel antimicrobial therapies has been painstakingly slow. Polymicrobial infections are increasingly recognized as a significant source of severe disease and also contribute to reduced susceptibility to antimicrobials. Chronic infections also are characterized by their ability to resist clearance, which is commonly linked to the development of biofilms that are notorious for antimicrobial resistance. The use of engineered cationic antimicrobial peptides (eCAPs) is attractive due to the slow development of resistance to these fast-acting antimicrobials and their ability to kill multidrug-resistant clinical isolates, key elements for the success of novel antimicrobial agents. Here, we tested the ability of an eCAP, WLBU2, to disrupt recalcitrant Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms. WLBU2 was capable of significantly reducing biomass and viability of P. aeruginosa biofilms formed on airway epithelium and maintained activity during viral coinfection, a condition that confers extraordinary levels of antibiotic resistance. Biofilm disruption was achieved in short treatment times by permeabilization of bacterial membranes. Additionally, we observed simultaneous reduction of infectivity of the viral pathogen respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). WLBU2 is notable for its ability to maintain activity across a broad range of physiological conditions and showed negligible toxicity toward the airway epithelium, expanding its potential applications as an antimicrobial therapeutic.
  • Published In

  • mSphere  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Melvin JA; Lashua LP; Kiedrowski MR; Yang G; Deslouches B; Montelaro RC; Bomberger JM
  • Volume

  • 1
  • Issue

  • 3