Engineered lactobacilli display anti-biofilm and growth suppressing activities against Pseudomonas aeruginosa
October 30, 2020
Todd C. Chappell1 and Nikhil U. Nair
npj Biofilms Microbiomes 6, 48 (2020).
Biofilms are an emerging target for new therapeutics in the effort to address the continued increase in resistance and tolerance to traditional antimicrobials. In particular, the distinct nature of the biofilm growth state often means that traditional antimcirobials, developed to combat planktonic cells, are ineffective. Biofilm treatments are designed to both reduce pathogen load at an infection site and decrease the development of resistance by rendering the embedded organisms more susceptible to treatment at lower antimicrobial concentrations. In this work, we developed a new antimicrobial treatment modality using engineered lactic acid bacteria (LAB). We first characterized the natural capacity of two lactobacilli, L. plantarum and L. rhamnosus, to inhibit P. aeruginosa growth, biofilm formation, and biofilm viability, which we found to be dependent upon the low pH generated during culture of the LAB. We further engineered these LAB to secrete enzymes known to degrade P. aeruginosa biofilms and show that our best performing engineered LAB, secreting a pathogen-derived enzyme (PelAh), degrades up to 85% of P. aeruginosabiofilm.