Despite intense efforts by the medical and pharmaceutical communities, Staphylococcus aureus continues to be a pervasive pathogen that causes a myriad of diseases and a high level of morbidity and mortality among infected patients. Thus, discovering or designing novel therapeutics able to kill both drug-resistant and drug-sensitive S. aureus remains a top priority. Bacteriolytic enzymes, mostly from phage, have shown great promise in preclinical studies, but little consideration has been given to cis-acting autolytic enzymes derived from the pathogen itself. Here, we use the S. aureus autolysin LytM as a proof of principal to demonstrate the antibacterial potential of endogenous peptidoglycan-degrading enzymes. While native LytM is only marginally bactericidal, fusion of LytM to the lysostaphin cell wall binding domain enhances its anti-staphylococcal activity approximately 540-fold, placing it on par with many phage lysins currently in preclinical development. The potential to therapeutically co-opt a pathogen's endogenous peptidoglycan recycling machinery opens the door to a previously untapped reservoir of antibacterial drug candidates.
Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research
Choose a citation style from the tabs below