Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Adapting fish defenses to block human infections: Antimicrobial peptide of fish gills inspire clean surfaces

Date:
November 29, 2012
Source:
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Summary:
Living in an environment teaming with bacteria and fungi, fish have evolved powerful defenses, including antimicrobial peptides located in their gills. Undergraduate researchers are studying the biology and mechanics of one of those peptides with the aim of creating engineered surfaces that can kill bacteria responsible for foodborne illnesses and hospital-acquired infections.

E. coli cells cultured with antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) bound to silicon crystals (the green cells are alive; the red are dead). The AMPs on the left are flat; those on the right are vertical.
Credit: Image courtesy of Worcester Polytechnic Institute

An undergraduate research team analyzes peptides from fish gills to engineer antimicrobial surfaces for food preparation and medical devices.

Living in an environment teaming with bacteria and fungi, fish have evolved powerful defenses against waterborne pathogens, including antimicrobial peptides located in their gills. Undergraduate researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) are studying the biology and the mechanics of one of those peptides with the hope they can use that knowledge to create engineered surfaces that kill bacteria responsible for foodborne illnesses and hospital-acquired infections.

The research team, led by Terri Camesano, professor of chemical engineering, reports its latest findings in the paper "Creating Antibacterial Surfaces with the Peptide Chrysophsin-1," published online in October by the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

"Fish have a wonderful solution for blocking bacterial and fungal infections," Camesano said. "In this study, we are working to better understand the biochemical mechanics of that process."

As fish filter water through their gills to extract oxygen, antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), including Chrysosphin-1, trap and kill pathogens before they can invade the fish's bloodstream. Scientists in many laboratories around the world are actively exploring the potential use of these molecules to prevent human infections. In the current study, the WPI team attached AMPs to silicon and gold surfaces using two different approaches and measured the bound peptides' ability to kill the bacterial pathogen E. coli.

In the first method, the AMPs were absorbed directly onto gold and silicon crystals, forming a single layer of molecules with the AMPs lying flat on the surface. In the second method, the tips of the AMPs were attached to the surfaces with a glue-like substance so that the peptides rose vertically, like blades of grass extending up from the ground. Surfaces with both AMP configurations were cultured with E. coli cells. The results showed that when the AMPs were lying flat they killed 34 percent of the bacteria in the culture, but when they were standing up vertically they killed 82 percent.

"The hypothesis is that when peptides are attached vertically to the surfaces, they are better able to move and bend so they take on a shape that is more effective in binding to and disrupting the E.coli cells," Camesano said.

In addition to gathering data about the antibacterial efficacy of the attached AMPs, the WPI research team developed a technique for monitoring, in real time, the attachment of AMPs to surfaces. Using quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring (QCM-D), the team measured the quantity of AMPs that successfully attached to the surfaces in the horizontal and vertical orientations and the density of the AMP layers, along with other properties.

"This was a powerful process, to be able to essentially watch the binding process as it happened," Camesano said. "It is a technique that we will continue to apply in further studies."

Camesano said gold and silicon surfaces were selected for the current study because their chemical properties are well-suited for AMP binding. In ongoing work, Camesano's laboratory will continue to characterize the mechanics of AMP binding for optimal antimicrobial activity and test other materials, including titanium, stainless steel, and plastics, that would have greater utility in food preparation and healthcare.

"What is also notable about this study is that it is the work of undergraduates," Camesano said. "They've done excellent work here that will inform future graduate studies in our lab."

The WPI undergraduates who co-authored the AMP paper are Ivan Ivanov '12 (chemical engineering), Alec Morrison '12 (biochemistry), and Jesse Cobb '12 (chemical engineering). Co-author Catherine Fahey, a student at George Washington University, worked on the study during at a summer project at WPI. Their work was sponsored in large part by a grant from the National Science Foundation's Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ivan E. Ivanov, Alec E. Morrison, Jesse E. Cobb, Catherine A. Fahey, Terri A. Camesano. Creating Antibacterial Surfaces with the Peptide Chrysophsin-1. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 2012; 4 (11): 5891 DOI: 10.1021/am301530a

Cite This Page:

Worcester Polytechnic Institute. "Adapting fish defenses to block human infections: Antimicrobial peptide of fish gills inspire clean surfaces." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121129143502.htm>.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute. (2012, November 29). Adapting fish defenses to block human infections: Antimicrobial peptide of fish gills inspire clean surfaces. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 14, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121129143502.htm
Worcester Polytechnic Institute. "Adapting fish defenses to block human infections: Antimicrobial peptide of fish gills inspire clean surfaces." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121129143502.htm (accessed September 14, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — New conservation measures for shark fishing face an uphill PR battle in the fight to slow shark extinction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) — A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) — In a small study, researchers found that the majority of long-time smokers quit after taking psilocybin pills and undergoing therapy sessions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spinosaurus Could Be First Semi-Aquatic Dinosaur

Spinosaurus Could Be First Semi-Aquatic Dinosaur

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) — New research has shown that the Spinosaurus, the largest carnivorous dinosaur, might have been just as well suited for life in the water as on land. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:  

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile iPhone Android Web
    Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins