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Rapid Screening and Comparison of Chimeric Lysins for Antibacterial Activity against Staphylococcus aureus Strains

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Park, Jin-Mi; Ko, Dae-Sung; Kim, Hee-Soo; Kim, Nam-Hyung; Kim, Eun-Kyoung; Roh, Young-Hye; Kim, Danil; Kim, Jae-Hong; Choi, Kang-Seuk; Kwon, Hyuk-Joon

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Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI)
Antibiotics, Vol.12 No.4, p. 667
Chimeric lysins composed of various combinations of cell wall-lysing (enzymatic) and cell-wall-binding (CWB) domains of endolysins, autolysins, and bacteriocins have been developed as alternatives to or adjuvants of conventional antibiotics. The screening of multiple chimeric lysin candidates for activity via E. coli expression is not cost effective, and we previously reported on a simple cell-free expression system as an alternative. In this study, we sufficiently improved upon this cell-free expression system for use in screening activity via a turbidity reduction test, which is more appropriate than a colony reduction test when applied in multiple screening. Using the improved protocol, we screened and compared the antibacterial activity of chimeric lysin candidates and verified the relatively strong activity associated with the CHAP (cysteine, histidine-dependent amidohydrolase/peptidase) domain of secretory antigen SsaA-like protein (ALS2). ALS2 expressed in E. coli showed two major bands, and the smaller one (subprotein) was shown to be expressed by an innate downstream promoter and start codon (ATG). The introduction of synonymous mutations in the promoter resulted in clearly reduced expression of the subprotein, whereas missense mutations in the start codon abolished antibacterial activity as well as subprotein production. Interestingly, most of the S. aureus strains responsible for bovine mastitis were susceptible to ALS2, but those from human and chicken were less susceptible. Thus, the simple and rapid screening method can be applied to select functional chimeric lysins and define mutations affecting antibacterial activity, and ALS2 may be useful in itself and as a lead molecule to control bovine mastitis.
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