The therapeutic potential of bacteriocins as protein antibiotics.
Behrens HM., Six A., Walker D., Kleanthous C.
The growing incidence of antibiotic-resistant Gram-negative bacterial infections poses a serious threat to public health. Molecules that have yet to be exploited as antibiotics are potent protein toxins called bacteriocins that are produced by Gram-negative bacteria during competition for ecological niches. This review discusses the state of the art regarding the use for therapeutic purposes of two types of Gram-negative bacteriocins: colicin-like bacteriocins (CLBs) and tailocins. In addition to in vitro data, the potency of eight identified CLBs or tailocins has been demonstrated in diverse animal models of infection with no adverse effects for the host. Although the characteristics of bacteriocins will need further study, results obtained thus far regarding their in vivo potency, immunogenicity and low levels of resistance are encouraging. This leads the way for the development of novel treatments using bacteriocins as protein antibiotics.