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Future Microbiol. 2015;10(12):1969-79. doi: 10.2217/fmb.15.104. Epub 2015 Nov 19.

Pheromonicins: an ecologically sound family of bacteriocin-based antibiotics for use in the age of the microbiome.

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Laboratory of Biomembrane & Membrane Protein, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, 610041, Chengdu, China.
Department of Biology, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA 01003, USA.


The time is ripe to usher in a new paradigm in infection control and to move beyond our sole reliance on broad-spectrum antibiotics whose use results in extensive collateral damage to our microbiome and, in so doing, exerts significant selective pressures for resistance to emerge. We propose to supplement the existing pharmacy of conventional antibiotics, with a new drug family, the pheromonicins. These bacteriocin-based antimicrobials are stable, nontoxic proteins that possess potent antibacterial activities, and which can be easily and rapidly retargeted against any bacteria desired. Here we discuss colicin Ia, a pore forming bacteriocin, as the base of a novel drug development platform, the pheromonicins. Recent work suggests this versatile drug development platform can be used to generate pheromonicins active against enveloped viruses, fungi and human cancer cells. Pheromonicins provide a less toxic, more ecologically sound alternative to conventional antibiotics, and their use will help limit our sole reliance on broad-spectrum drugs.


alternatives to antibiotics; antibiotics; anticancer cells; antifungals; antivirals; bacteriocins; designer drugs; infection control; pheromonicins

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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