The global increase in antibiotic resistance is a huge challenge for the health system. To combat the growing resistance to antimicrobial drugs, the WHO has drawn up a list to guide research and development of new antibiotics. The most critical group, according to the WHO, includes multidrug-resistant bacteria such as some strains of Klebsiella (K.)pneumoniae, which can cause severe and fatal infections such as sepsis and pneumonia in humans and animals and are resistant to many important antibiotics such as cephalosporins and carbapenems. Veterinarian Ann-Kathrin Krieger, a research associate at the Institute of Bacteriology and Mycology since 2018, is researching alternatives to the use of antibiotics. In her research project, funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), she is investigating the antimicrobial effect of selected peptides and modified bacteriophages. In cooperation with Prof. Hoffmann's research group (Institute of Bioanalytical Chemistry, University of Leipzig), she published her initial results in the Journal of Global Antimicrobial Resistance in December 2020. In the publication "Proline-rich antimicrobial peptide Api137 is bactericidal in porcine blood infected ex vivo with a porcine or human Klebsiella pneumoniae strain", the effect of the antimicrobial peptide Apidaecin 137 on the pathogen K. pneumoniae was investigated. Apidaecin 137 is a derivative of an antimicrobial peptide of the honey bee (Apis mellifera), which is characterised by a high proportion of prolines and arginines. Ann-Kathrin Krieger has established a bactericidal assay in which blood from pigs in a test tube is infected with a virulent K. pneumoniae strain. After significant multiplication of the pathogen in the blood, the antimicrobial peptide Api137 was added, which led to an effective killing of the K. pneumoniae strain. The results of the study represent a promising step in the development of new antimicrobial therapeutics against antibiotic-resistant, hypervirulent K. pneumoniae strains.
Created by: Mareike Pendzialek and Christoph Baums