Supreme activity of gramicidin S against resistant, persistent and biofilm cells of staphylococci and enterococci
Sci. Rep. 2019, 9 (1), 17938
Three promising antibacterial peptides were studied with regard to their ability to inhibit the growth and kill the cells of clinical strains of Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecalis and Enterococcus faecium. The multifunctional gramicidin S (GS) was the most potent, compared to the membranotropic temporin L (TL), being more effective than the innate-defence regulator IDR-1018 (IDR). These activities, compared across 16 strains as minimal bactericidal and minimal inhibitory concentrations (MIC), are independent of bacterial resistance pattern, phenotype variations and/or biofilm-forming potency. For S. aureus strains, complete killing is accomplished by all peptides at 5 x MIC. For E. faecalis strains, only GS exhibits a rapid bactericidal effect at 5 x MIC, while TL and IDR require higher concentrations. The biofilm-preventing activities of all peptides against the six strains with the largest biofilm biomass were compared. GS demonstrates the lowest minimal biofilm inhibiting concentrations, whereas TL and IDR are consistently less effective. In mature biofilms, only GS completely kills the cells of all studied strains. We compare the physicochemical properties, membranolytic activities, model pharmacokinetics and eukaryotic toxicities of the peptides and explain the bactericidal, antipersister and antibiofilm activities of GS by its elevated stability, pronounced cell-penetration ability and effective utilization of multiple modes of antibacterial action.