Antimicrobial GL13K peptide coatings killed and ruptured the wall of streptococcus gordonii and prevented formation and growth of biofilms

Xi Chen, Helmut Hirt, Yuping Li, Sven-Ulrik Gorr, Conrado Aparicio

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102 Scopus citations


Infection is one of the most prevalent causes for dental implant failure. We have developed a novel antimicrobial peptide coating on titanium by immobilizing the antimicrobial peptide GL13K. GL13K was developed from the human salivary protein BPIFA2. The peptide exhibited MIC of 8 μg/ml against planktonic Pseudonomas aeruginosa and their biofilms were reduced by three orders of magnitude with 100 μg/ml GL13K. This peptide concentration also killed 100% of Streptococcus gordonii. At 1 mg/ml, GL13K caused less than 10% lysis of human red blood cells, suggesting low toxicity to mammalian cells. Our GL13K coating has also previously showed bactericidal effect and inhibition of biofilm growth against peri-implantitis related pathogens, such as Porphyromonas gingivalis. The GL13K coating was cytocompatible with human fibroblasts and osteoblasts. However, the bioactivity of antimicrobial coatings has been commonly tested under (quasi)static culture conditions that are far from simulating conditions for biofilm formation and growth in the oral cavity. Oral salivary flow over a coating is persistent, applies continuous shear forces, and supplies sustained nutrition to bacteria. This accelerates bacteria metabolism and biofilm growth. In this work, the antimicrobial effect of the coating was tested against Streptococcus gordonii, a primary colonizer that provides attachment for the biofilm accretion by P. gingivalis, using a drip-flow biofilm bioreactor with media flow rates simulating salivary flow. The GL13K peptide coatings killed bacteria and prevented formation and growth of S. gordonii biofilms in the drip-flow bioreactor and under regular mild-agitation conditions. Surprisingly the interaction of the bacteria with the GL13K peptide coatings ruptured the cell wall at their septum or polar areas leaving empty shell-like structures or exposed protoplasts. The cell wall rupture was not detected under regular culture conditions, suggesting that cell wall rupture induced by GL13K peptides also requires media flow and possible attendant biological sequelae of the conditions in the bioreactor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere111579
JournalPloS one
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 5 2014

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© 2014 Chen et al.


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