Antimicrobial Peptides Isolated from Feline Skin Inhibit Drug-Resistant S. Pseudintermedius Pathogen

Antimicrobial Peptides
Author’s cat, Nappa. Not a feline from the experiment.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius (MRSP), a zoonotic pathogen causing severe skin infection, has been shown to be combated by peptides with antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. The phenol-soluble modulin beta (PSMβ) peptides that succeed where conventional drugs fall short are isolated from a unique strain (S. felis C4) found in feline skin.

Antimicrobial Peptides from Feline Skin

Once the PSMβ peptides were identified from the S. felis strain, LifeTein helped the scientists by synthesizing batches of the peptides to be tested against MRSP in mice. Results showed a significant reduction in necrotic skin injury from MRSP in mice treated with the S. felis extract. This was due to the antimicrobial peptides inhibiting translation and disrupting bacterial cell membranes, greatly reducing skin colonization of MRSP.

The group believes this study can re-establish the community of microbes on skin that promote health. The results proved effective in vitro and in vivo when combatting MRSP. Overall, the discovery serves to represent a potential bacteriotherapeutic for both human and animal skin diseases like the MRSP colonization and infection.

O’Neill AM, Worthing KA, Kulkarni N, et al. Antimicrobials from a feline commensal bacterium inhibit skin infection by drug-resistant S. pseudintermedius. Elife. 2021;10:e66793. Published 2021 Oct 19. doi:10.7554/eLife.66793