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Antimicrobial activity of two novel antimicrobial peptides AA139 and SET-M33 against clinically and genotypically diverse Klebsiella pneumoniae isolates with differing antibiotic resistance profiles

van der Weide, Hessel, Vermeulen-de Jongh, Denise M.C., van der Meijden, Aart, Boers, Stefan A., Kreft, Deborah, ten Kate, Marian T., Falciani, Chiara, Pini, Alessandro, Strandh, Magnus, Bakker-Woudenberg, Irma A.J.M., Hays, John P., Goessens, Wil H.F.
International journal of antimicrobial agents 2019 v.54 no.2 pp. 159-166
Klebsiella pneumoniae, antibacterial properties, antibiotic resistance, antimicrobial peptides, bacteria, colistin, cross resistance, drugs, mechanism of action, multiple drug resistance
Colistin is an antimicrobial peptide (AMP) used as a drug of last resort, although plasmid-mediated colistin resistance (MCR) has been reported. AA139 and SET-M33 are novel AMPs currently in development for the treatment of multidrug-resistant (MDR) Gram-negative bacterial infections. As many AMPs have a similar mode of action to colistin, potentially leading to cross-resistance, the antimicrobial activity of AA139 and SET-M33 was investigated against a collection of 50 clinically and genotypically diverse Klebsiella pneumoniae isolates with differing antibiotic resistance profiles, including colistin-resistant strains. The collection was genotypically characterised and susceptibility to clinically relevant antibiotics was determined. Susceptibility to AA139 and SET-M33 did not differ among the collection despite differences in underlying mechanisms of resistance or susceptibility to colistin. For three colistin-susceptible and three colistin-resistant strains with distinct MDR profiles as well as an additional MCR-producing strain, the bactericidal activity of AA139, SET-M33 and colistin during 24 h of exposure was examined. Following 24 h of exposure to AA139, SET-M33 or colistin, the seven strains were tested for changes in susceptibility to the respective AMPs. AA139 and SET-M33 showed a concentration-dependent bactericidal effect irrespective of bacterial susceptibility to colistin. Exposure to low colistin concentrations resulted in the development of colistin resistance in colistin-susceptible strains, whereas susceptibility to AA139 and SET-M33 following exposure to the respective AMPs was maintained. The two novel AMPs remained effective against colistin-resistant strains and may be promising novel drugs for the treatment of clinically and genotypically diverse MDR K. pneumoniae infections, including infections associated with colistin-resistant bacteria.