Synergy between conventional antibiotics and anti-biofilm peptides in a murine, sub-cutaneous abscess model caused by recalcitrant ESKAPE pathogens

Daniel Pletzer, Sarah C. Mansour, Robert E.W. Hancock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

151 Citations (Scopus)


With the antibiotic development pipeline running dry, many fear that we might soon run out of treatment options. High-density infections are particularly difficult to treat due to their adaptive multidrug-resistance and currently there are no therapies that adequately address this important issue. Here, a large-scale in vivo study was performed to enhance the activity of antibiotics to treat high-density infections caused by multidrug-resistant Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. It was shown that synthetic peptides can be used in conjunction with the antibiotics ciprofloxacin, meropenem, erythromycin, gentamicin, and vancomycin to improve the treatment outcome of murine cutaneous abscesses caused by clinical hard-to-treat pathogens including all ESKAPE (Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Enterobacter cloacae) pathogens and Escherichia coli. Promisingly, combination treatment often showed synergistic effects that significantly reduced abscess sizes and/or improved clearance of bacterial isolates from the infection site, regardless of the antibiotic mode of action. In vitro data suggest that the mechanisms of peptide action in vivo include enhancement of antibiotic penetration and potential disruption of the stringent stress response.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1007084
JournalPLoS Pathogens
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Virology

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