Foo Y.M. Winnie, Ruqaiyyah Siddiqui, Kuppusamy Sagathevan and Naveed A. Khan* Pages 425 - 437 ( 13 )
Background: Snakes feed on germ-infested rodents, while water monitor lizards thrive on rotten matter in unhygienic conditions. We hypothesize that such creatures survive the assault of superbugs and are able to fend off disease by producing antimicrobial substances. In this study, we investigated the potential antibacterial activity of sera/lysates of animals living in polluted environments.Methods: Snake (Reticulatus malayanus), rats (Rattus rattus), water monitor lizard (Varanus salvator), frog (Lithobates catesbeianus), fish (Oreochromis mossambicus), chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus), and pigeon (Columba livia) were dissected and their organ lysates/sera were collected. Crude extracts were tested for bactericidal effects against neuropathogenic E. coli K1, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Streptococcus pyogenes, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Bacillus cereus and Klebsiella pneumoniae. To determine whether lysates/sera protect human cells against bacterialmediated damage, cytotoxicity assays were performed by measuring lactate dehydrogenase release as an indicator of cell death. Lysates/sera were partially characterized using heat-treatment and pronasetreatment and peptide sequences were determined using the Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS). Results: Snake and water monitor lizard sera exhibited potent broad-spectrum bactericidal effects against all bacteria tested. Heat inactivation and pronase-treatment inhibited bactericidal effects indicating that activity is heat-labile and pronase-sensitive suggesting that active molecules are proteinaceous in nature. LCMS analyses revealed the molecular identities of peptides. Conclusion: The results revealed that python that feeds on germ-infested rodents and water monitor lizards that feed on rotten organic waste possess antibacterial activity in a heat-sensitive manner and several peptides were identified. We hope that the discovery of antibacterial activity in the sera of animals living in polluted environments will stimulate research in finding antibacterial agents from unusual sources as this has the potential for the development of novel strategies in the control of infectious diseases.
Antibacterial activity, human cells, polluted environment, cytotoxicity, MRSA, E. coli.
Department of Biological Sciences, School of Science and Technology, Sunway University, Bandar Sunway, Selangor, Department of Biology, Chemistry and Environmental Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, American University of Sharjah, University City, Sharjah, Department of Biological Sciences, School of Science and Technology, Sunway University, Bandar Sunway, Selangor, Department of Biology, Chemistry and Environmental Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, American University of Sharjah, University City, Sharjah