About this Research Topic
Bacteriocins are ribosomally synthesised peptides produced by bacteria and typically displaying antimicrobial activity against closely related strains. Recent advances in DNA sequencing technology and the availability of tools and software such as BAGEL or AntiSMASH have resulted in in silico identification of strains which are likely to be bacteriocins producers. Subsequently, advances in experimental techniques have led to the development of hybrid bacteriocins with a potential to target specific clinical pathogens. Greater insights into the mode of action of various classes of bacteriocins have also resulted in their more efficient use either independently or in combination with other antimicrobials to target specific pathogens instead of antibiotics.
An alternative approach to the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics, which have been shown to be potentially detrimental to the gut when targeting gut pathogens such as Clostridium difficile, is to source novel narrow-spectrum antimicrobials including bacteriocins. For instance, thuricin CD has been shown to specifically target C. difficile, whilst leaving the remaining gut microbiota largely unperturbed.
The use of narrow-spectrum bacteriocins in combination with other antimicrobial agents is a promising option to address the increasing antimicrobial resistance of pathogens. Synergistic combinations of antimicrobials with different modes of action can attenuate the chances of resistance development, and result in a more efficient use of the antimicrobials in combination, at lower therapeutic concentrations. Successful synergistic combinations of this nature have great potential for clinical applications, as well as applications in food systems, with a view to targeting food-borne pathogens and spoilage organisms. To be able to predict successful synergistic combinations however, gaining greater insights into the mode of action of existing bacteriocins is essential. Such insights can inform decisions for mutagenesis-based studies with a view to designing hybrid bacteriocins to target specific pathogens.
This Research Topic aims to collect papers on the following topics:
• Novel bacteriocins and other groups of ribosomally synthesised and post-translationally modified peptides (RiPPs) discovered using in silico and experimental methods relating to, amongst others: antimicrobial spectrum, antimicrobial gene clusters or peptide purification.
• In vitro and in vivo studies conducted to test the activity of bacteriocins against various pathogens.
• Cloning and heterologous expression of bacteriocins and other RiPPs with the aim at overexpression, using the system as a basis for further mutagenesis-based studies.
• Mutagenesis studies with the aim to enhance the bioactivity and/or physicochemical properties of both existing and novel bacteriocin peptides.
• Review articles relating to any of the above-mentioned topics.
Merely descriptive papers without presenting a clear hypothesis, as well as Genome Announcements, are discouraged.
Prof Upton is the director of Amprologix, a company developing new bacteriocins; the other editors declare no competing interest in regard to editing this Research Topic.
Keywords: bacteriocins, RiPPs, antimicrobials
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