Comparative Antimicrobial Activity of Granulysin against Bacterial Biothreat Agents
Granulysin is a cationic protein produced by human T cells and natural killer cells that can kill bacterial pathogens through disruption of microbial membrane integrity. Herein we demonstrate antimicrobial activity of the granulysin peptide derived from the active site against Bacillus anthracis, Yersinia pestis, Francisella tularensis, and Burkholderia mallei, and show pathogen-specific differences in granulysin peptide effects. The susceptibility of Y. pestis to granulysin is temperature dependent, being less susceptible when grown at the flea arthropod vector temperature (26 degrees C) than when grown at human body temperature. These studies suggest that augmentation of granulysin expression by cytotoxic lymphocytes, or therapeutic application of granulysin peptides, could constitute important strategies for protection against select agent bacterial pathogens. Investigations of the microbial surface molecules that determine susceptibility to granulysin may identify important mechanisms that contribute to pathogenesis.