Purification and characterization of a novel delta-lysin variant that inhibits Staphylococcus aureus and has limited hemolytic activity

Mohammed Al-Mahrous, Stephanie K. Sandiford, John R. Tagg, Mathew Upton

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Delta-lysins (DL) that are produced by various species of staphylococci are not widely known for their antimicrobial activity. We have purified and characterized a novel DL variant, E229DL and examined its spectrum of inhibitory activity. The biological activity of E229DL, produced by Staphylococcus epidermidis strain E229, shows relatively broad-spectrum activity against Gram-positive pathogens, including representatives of MRSA and epidemic MRSA type 15. E229DL was purified to homogeneity from 95% acidified-methanol extracts of cell cultures by using a series of reversed-phase chromatographic separations. The fully processed form of E229DL is a 25-amino-acid peptide with a predicted mass of 2841.4 Da, but the purified biologically active molecule appears to be N-formylated (mass 2867.33 Da). The DL gene (hld) resembles that of other types of DL, but differs in five codons with hld in Staphylococcus aureus (26 residues) and one codon with the closest homolog, the hld-II in S. warneri (25 residues). The characterization of E229DL showed that its activity is stable in agar exposed to high temperatures (80 °C/45 min). In addition, biological testing of the native and synthetic peptides against a range of human and animal erythrocytes and Vero cells indicated that E229DL is an antibacterial agent with no detectable cytopathic effects at concentrations equivalent to the minimum inhibitory concentration for EMRSA15-A208. Initial investigation of the mode of action of E229DL indicated that it is rapidly lytic for target cells. This is the first description of a native form of DL having only limited cytotoxic activity for eukaryotic cells at concentrations that are inhibitory to staphylococci. © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1661-1668
    Number of pages7
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2010


    • Antibacterial peptides
    • Coagulase-negative staphylococci
    • Delta-lysin (DL)
    • MRSA


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