Applied microbiology and biotechnology

Potent antimicrobial peptides against Legionella pneumophila and its environmental host, Acanthamoeba castellanii.

PMID 25592737


Legionella pneumophila, the major causative agent of Legionnaires' disease, is most often found in the environment in close association with free-living amoebae, leading to persistence, spread, biocide resistance, and elevated virulence of the bacterium. In the present study, we evaluated the anti-Legionella and anti-Acanthamoeba activities of three alpha-helical antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), namely, NK-2, Ci-MAM-A24, and Ci-PAP-A22, already known for the extraordinary efficacy against other microbes. Our data represent the first demonstration of the activity of a particular AMP against both the human facultative intracellular pathogen L. pneumophila and its pathogenic host, Acanthamoeba castellanii. Interestingly, the most effective peptide, Ci-MAM-A24, was also found to reduce the Legionella cell number within amoebae. Accordingly, this peptide was immobilized on gold surfaces to assess its antimicrobial activity. Surfaces were characterized, and activity studies revealed that the potent bactericidal activity of the peptide was conserved after its immobilization. In the frame of elaborating anti-Legionella surfaces, Ci-MAM-A24 represents, by its direct and indirect activity against Legionella, a potent peptide template for biological control of the bacterium in plumbings.