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PLoS One. 2017 May 3;12(5):e0176640. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0176640. eCollection 2017.

The anti-microbial peptide TP359 attenuates inflammation in human lung cells infected with Pseudomonas aeruginosa via TLR5 and MAPK pathways.

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Center for NanoBiotechnology Research, Alabama State University, Montgomery, Alabama, United States of America.
Lousiana State University Health Sciences Center, School of Allied Health Professions, New Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America.
Therapeutic Peptides Inc., Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States of America.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection induces vigorous inflammatory mediators secreted by epithelial cells, which do not necessarily eradicate the pathogen. Nonetheless, it reduces lung function due to significant airway damage, most importantly in cystic fibrosis patients. Recently, we published that TP359, a proprietary cationic peptide had potent bactericidal effects against P. aeruginosa, which were mediated by down-regulating its outer membrane biogenesis genes. Herein, we hypothesized that TP359 bactericidal effects could also serve to regulate P. aeruginosa-induced lung inflammation. We explored this hypothesis by infecting human A549 lung cells with live P. aeruginosa non-isogenic, mucoid and non-mucoid strains and assessed the capacity of TP359 to regulate the levels of elicited TNFα, IL-6 and IL-8 inflammatory cytokines. In all instances, the mucoid strain elicited higher concentrations of cytokines in comparison to the non-mucoid strain, and TP359 dose-dependently down-regulated their respective levels, suggesting its regulation of lung inflammation. Surprisingly, P. aeruginosa flagellin, and not its lipopolysaccharide moiety, was the primary inducer of inflammatory cytokines in lung cells, which were similarly down-regulated by TP359. Blocking of TLR5, the putative flagellin receptor, completely abrogated the capacity of infected lung cells to secrete cytokines, underscoring that TP359 regulates inflammation via the TLR5-dependent signaling pathway. Downstream pathway-specific inhibition studies further revealed that the MAPK pathway, essentially p38 and JNK are necessary for induction of P. aeruginosa elicited inflammatory cytokines and their down-regulation by TP359. Collectively, our data provides evidence to support exploring the relevancy of TP359 as an anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory agent against P. aeruginosa for clinical applications.

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