Susceptibility of Rickettsia monacensis and Rickettsia peacockii to cecropin A, ceratotoxin A, and lysozyme

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Abstract

Ticks host obligate intracellular bacteria that range from benign symbiotes to virulent human pathogens. The effects on those bacteria of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) involved in arthropod innate immunity to microbial infections are largely unknown. We evaluated effects of AMPs and a c-type lysozyme on host cell-free suspensions of the tick symbiotes Rickettsia monacensis and Rickettsia peacockii with stain-based infectivity and viability assays. Cecropin A at a concentration of 8 μM had a lethal effect on both rickettsiae while ceratotoxin A was approximately 20-fold less effective. Toxicity of both AMPs was synergized by lysozyme, an enzyme expressed by ticks. Lactoferrin, a transferrin, had no effect on R. monacensis at up to 110 μM. The rickettsiae were less sensitive to the AMPs than is typical of bacteria that grow extracellularly. Our assays may be useful in the study of AMP activity against other obligate intracellular bacteria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-238
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Microbiology
Volume51
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2005

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