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Human antimicrobial peptide, LL-37, induces non-inheritable reduced susceptibility to vancomycin in Staphylococcus aureus

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Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are central components of the innate immune system providing protection against pathogens. Yet, serum and tissue concentrations vary between individuals and with disease conditions. We demonstrate that the human AMP LL-37 lowers the susceptibility to vancomycin in the community-associated methicillin-resistant S. aureus (CA-MRSA) strain FPR3757 (USA300). Vancomycin is used to treat serious MRSA infections, but treatment failures occur despite MRSA strains being tested susceptible according to standard susceptibility methods. Exposure to physiologically relevant concentrations of LL-37 increased the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of S. aureus towards vancomycin by 75%, and resulted in shortened lag-phase and increased colony formation at sub-inhibitory concentrations of vancomycin. Computer simulations using a mathematical antibiotic treatment model indicated that a small increase in MIC might decrease the efficacy of vancomycin in clearing a S. aureus infection. This prediction was supported in a Galleria mellonella infection model, where exposure of S. aureus to LL-37 abolished the antimicrobial effect of vancomycin. Thus, physiological relevant concentrations of LL-37 reduce susceptibility to vancomycin, indicating that tissue and host specific variations in LL-37 concentrations may influence vancomycin susceptibility in vivo.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
Artikelnummer13121
TidsskriftScientific Reports
Vol/bind10
Udgave nummer1
Antal sider8
ISSN2045-2322
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 2020

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