Abstract Title:

Membrane-targeted synergistic activity of docosahexaenoic acid and lysozyme against Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Abstract Source:

Biochem J. 2009 Apr 1;419(1):193-200. PMID: 19105793

Abstract Author(s):

Jose G Martinez, Michael Waldon, Qiyu Huang, Sandra Alvarez, Ami Oren, Natalie Sandoval, Ming Du, Feimeng Zhou, Alexandra Zenz, Karl Lohner, Robert Desharnais, Edith Porter


Antimicrobial polypeptides, including lysozymes, have membrane perturbing activity and are well-documented effector molecules of innate immunity. In cystic fibrosis, a hereditary disease with frequent lung infection with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the non-esterified fatty acid DA (docosahexaenoic acid), but not OA (oleic acid), is decreased, and DA supplementation has been shown to improve the clinical condition in these patients. We hypothesized that DA may, either alone or in conjunction with lysozyme, exert antibacterial action against Ps. aeruginosa. We found that DA and lysozyme synergistically inhibit the metabolic activity of Ps. aeruginosa, in contrast with OA. Electron microscopy and equilibrium dialysis suggest that DA accumulates in the bacterial membrane in the presence of lysozyme. Surface plasmon resonance with live bacteria and differential scanning calorimetry studies with bacterial model membranes reveal that, initially, DA facilitates lysozyme incorporation into the membrane, which in turn allows influx of more DA, leading to bacterial cell death. The present study elucidates a molecular basis for the synergistic action of non-esterified fatty acids and antimicrobial polypeptides, which may be dysfunctional in cystic fibrosis.

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