We used the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a cost-effective in vivo model to evaluate the efficacy of novel antibacterial peptides and peptoids for treatment of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections. A panel of peptides with known antibacterial activity in vitro and/or in vivo was tested in Drosophila. Although most peptides and peptoids that were effective in vitro failed to rescue lethal effects of S. aureus infections in vivo, we found that two lantibiotics, nisin and NAI-107, rescued adult flies from fatal infections. Furthermore, NAI-107 rescued mortality of infection with the MRSA strain USA300 with an efficacy equivalent to that of vancomycin, a widely applied antibiotic for the treatment of serious MRSA infections. These results establish Drosophila as a useful model for in vivo drug evaluation of antibacterial peptides.
Thomasen, T. T., Mojsoska, B., Cruz, J. C. S., Donadio, S., Jenssen, H., Løbner-Olesen, A., & Rewitz, K. F. (2016). The Lantibiotic NAI-107 Efficiently Rescues Drosophila melanogaster from Infection with Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus USA300. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 60(9), 5427-5436 . https://doi.org/10.1128/AAC.02965-15