Staphylococcus epidermidis is a common nosocomial pathogen able to form biofilms in indwelling devices, resulting in chronic infections, which are refractory to antibiotics treatment. Staphylococcal biofilms are also associated with the delayed reepithelization and healing of chronic wounds. The human cathelicidin peptide LL-37 has been proven active against S. epidermidis biofilms in vitro and to promote wound healing. As previous studies have demonstrated that fragments of LL-37 could possess an equal antibacterial activity as the parent peptide, we tested whether shorter (12-mer) synthetic fragments of LL-37 maintained the antibiofilm and/or immune modulating activity, aiming at the identification of essential regions within the LL-37 parent sequence. Three fragments of LL-37 displayed improved activity against S. epidermidis in terms of biofilm inhibition and eradication, a reduced cytotoxicity to human keratinocytes and erythrocytes. In addition, KR-12 and VQ-12V26 enhanced wound healing potential, relative to LL37. FK-12 and KR-12 are truncated version of the cathelicidin, previously reported as valid antimicrobials, whereas VQ-12V26 is a single substituted LL-37 fragment. Remarkably, the single substitution aspartic acid to valine in position 26 caused gain of antimicrobial function in the inactive VQ-12 fragment. The combination of antibiofilm, wound healing potential, and low cytotoxicity makes KR-12 and VQ-12V26 promising therapeutic agents and lead compounds for further improvement and understanding of antibiofilm and wound healing properties.
Saporito, P., Mouritzen, M. V., Løbner-Olesen, A., & Jenssen, H. (2018). LL‐37 fragments have antimicrobial activity against Staphylococcus epidermidis biofilms and wound healing potential in HaCaT cell line. Journal of Peptide Science, 24(7), . https://doi.org/10.1002/psc.3080