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FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2011 Aug;62(3):273-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-695X.2011.00811.x. Epub 2011 May 27.

Identification of a haemolysin-like peptide with antibacterial activity using the draft genome sequence of Staphylococcus epidermidis strain A487.

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Department of Medical Microbiology, School of Translational Medicine, University of Manchester, Manchester Royal Infirmary, Manchester, UK.


Our interest in Staphylococcus epidermidis strain A487 was prompted by the unusual nature of its inhibitory activity in screening tests against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus isolates. The inhibitory activity was detected in deferred antagonism tests only if the agar plate was preheated for at least 35 min at ≥ 55 °C before inoculation of the indicator bacteria, this phenomenon indicating possible involvement of a heat-labile immunity agent or protease. The inhibitor was purified to homogeneity by ammonium sulphate precipitation, followed by cation-exchange and reversed-phase chromatography. Tandem MS revealed a novel peptide of molecular weight 2588.4 Da. The draft genome sequence of strain A487 was determined using 454 GS FLX technology, allowing the identification of the structural gene (hlp) encoding the mature peptide MQFITDLIKKAVDFFKGLFGNK. The deduced amino acid sequence of peptide 487 exhibited 70.8% similarity to that of a putative haemolysin from Staphylococcus cohnii. Analysis of the genome of strain A487 showed several additional inhibitor-encoding genes, including hld, the determinant for staphylococcal δ-lysin. This work indicates that potentially useful inhibitors could be overlooked in agar-based inhibitor screening programmes lacking a heat pretreatment step and also highlights the utility of draft genome sequence examination in antibacterial agent discovery.

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