Lien vers Pubmed [PMID] – 21182824
Biochim. Biophys. Acta 2011 Apr;1808(4):1146-53
Warnericin RK is an antimicrobial peptide, produced by a Staphyloccocus warneri strain, described to be specifically active against Legionella, the pathogenic bacteria responsible for Legionnaires’ disease. Warnericin RK is an amphiphilic alpha-helical peptide, which possesses a detergent-like mode of action. Two others peptides, δ-hemolysin I and II, produced by the same S. warneri strain, are highly similar to S. aureus δ-hemolysin and also display anti-Legionella activity. It has been recently reported that S. aureus δ-hemolysin activity on vesicles is likewise related to phospholipid acyl-chain structure, such as chain length and saturation. As staphylococcal δ-hemolysins were highly similar, we thus hypothesized that fatty acid composition of Legionella’s membrane might influence the sensitivity of the bacteria to warnericin RK. Relationship between sensitivity to the peptide and fatty acid composition was then followed in various conditions. Cells in stationary phase, which were already described as less resistant than cells in exponential phase, displayed higher amounts of branched-chain fatty acids (BCFA) and short chain fatty acids. An adapted strain, able to grow at a concentration 33 fold higher than minimal inhibitory concentration of the wild type (i.e. 1μM), was isolated after repeated transfers of L. pneumophila in the presence of increased concentrations of warnericin RK. The amount of BCFA was significantly higher in the adapted strain than in the wild type strain. Also, a transcriptomic analysis of the wild type and adapted strains showed that two genes involved in fatty acid biosynthesis were repressed in the adapted strain. These genes encode enzymes involved in desaturation and elongation of fatty acids respectively. Their repression was in agreement with the decrease of unsaturated fatty acids and fatty acid chain length in the adapted strain. Conclusively, our results indicate that the increase of BCFA and the decrease of fatty acid chain length in membrane were correlated with the increase in resistance to warnericin RK. Therefore, fatty acid profile seems to play a critical role in the sensitivity of L. pneumophila to warnericin RK.