Antibiofilm peptides: Potential as broadspectrum agents

Daniel Pletzer, Robert E.W. Hancock

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

161 Citations (Scopus)


The treatment of bacterial diseases is facing twin threats, with increasing bacterial antibiotic resistance and relatively few novel compounds or strategies under development or entering the clinic. Bacteria frequently grow on surfaces as biofilm communities encased in a polymeric matrix. The biofilm mode of growth is associated with 65 to 80% of all clinical infections. It causes broad adaptive changes; biofilm bacteria are especially (10-to 1,000-fold) resistant to conventional antibiotics and to date no antimicrobials have been developed specifically to treat biofilms. Small synthetic peptides with broad-spectrum antibiofilm activity represent a novel approach to treat biofilm-related infections. Recent developments have provided evidence that these peptides can inhibit even developed biofilms, kill multiple bacterial species in biofilms (including the ESKAPE [Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterobacter species] pathogens), show strong synergy with several antibiotics, and act by targeting a universal stress response in bacteria. Thus, these peptides represent a promising alternative treatment to conventional antibiotics and work effectively in animal models of biofilm- associated infections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2572-2578
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology

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