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Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2012 Dec;96(5):1157-74. doi: 10.1007/s00253-012-4484-3. Epub 2012 Oct 18.

Peptidoglycan hydrolases-potential weapons against Staphylococcus aureus.

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  • 1Department of Pharmaceutical Technology and Biochemistry, Faculty of Chemistry, Gdańsk University of Technology, ul. G. Narutowicza 11/12, 80-233, Gdańsk, Poland.


Bacteria of the genus Staphylococcus are common pathogens responsible for a broad spectrum of human and animal infections and belong to the most important etiological factors causing food poisoning. Because of rapid increase in the prevalence of isolation of staphylococci resistant to many antibiotics, there is an urgent need for the development of new alternative chemotherapeutics. A number of studies have recently demonstrated the strong potential of peptidoglycan hydrolases (PHs) to control and treat infections caused by this group of bacteria. PHs cause rapid lysis and death of bacterial cells. The review concentrates on enzymes hydrolyzing peptidoglycan of staphylococci. Usually, they are characterized by high specificity to only Staphylococcus aureus cell wall components; however, some of them are also able to lyse cells of other staphylococci, e.g., Staphylococcus epidermidis-human pathogen of growing importance and also other groups of bacteria. Some PHs strengthen the bactericidal or bacteriostatic activity of common antibiotics, and as a result, they should be considered as component of combined therapy which could definitely reduced the development of bacterial resistance to both enzymes and antibiotics. The preliminary research revealed that most of these enzymes can be produced using heterologous, especially Escherichia coli expression systems; however, still much effort is required to develop more efficient and large-scale production technologies. This review discusses current state on knowledge with emphasis on the possibilities of application of PHs in the context of therapeutics for infections caused by staphylococci.

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