The emergence, persistence and spread of antibiotic-resistant human pathogenic bacteria heralds a growing global health crisis. Drug-resistant strains of gram-negative bacteria, such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, are especially dangerous and the medical and economic burden they impose underscore the critical need for finding new antimicrobials. Recent studies have demonstrated that plant-expressed bacteriocins of the colicins family can be efficient antibacterials against all major enteropathogenic strains of E. coli. We extended our studies of colicin-like bacteriocins to pyocins, which are produced by strains of P. aeruginosa for ecological advantage against other strains of the same species. Using a plant-based transient expression system, we expressed six different pyocins, namely S5, PaeM, L1, L2, L3 and one new pyocin, PaeM4, and purified them to homogeneity. Among these pyocins, PaeM4 demonstrated the broadest spectrum of activity by controlling 53 of 100 tested clinical isolates of P. aeruginosa. The activity of plant-made pyocins was confirmed in the agar drop, liquid culture susceptibility and biofilm assays, and in the Galleria mellonella animal infection model.
Paškevičius, Š., Starkevič, U., Misiūnas, A., Vitkauskienė, A., Gleba, Y., & Ražanskienė, A. (2017). Plant-expressed pyocins for control of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. PLoS ONE, 12(10). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0185782