High Throughput Screening for Natural Host Defense Peptide-Inducing Compounds as Novel Alternatives to Antibiotics

Lyu, W., Deng, Z., Sunkara, L. T., Becker, S., Robinson, K., Matts, R., & Zhang, G.

Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology 8 (2018).

A rise in antimicrobial resistance demands novel alternatives to antimicrobials for disease control and prevention. As an important component of innate immunity, host defense peptides (HDPs) are capable of killing a broad spectrum of pathogens and modulating a range of host immune responses. Enhancing the synthesis of endogenous HDPs has emerged as a novel host-directed antimicrobial therapeutic strategy. To facilitate the identification of natural products with a strong capacity to induce HDP synthesis, a stable macrophage cell line expressing a luciferase reporter gene driven by a 2-Kb avian β-defensin 9 (AvBD9) gene promoter was constructed through lentiviral transduction and puromycin selection. A high throughput screening assay was subsequently developed using the stable reporter cell line to screen a library of 584 natural products. A total of 21 compounds with a minimum Z-score of 2.0 were identified. Secondary screening in chicken HTC macrophages and jejunal explants further validated most compounds with a potent HDP-inducing activity in a dose-dependent manner. A follow-up oral administration of a lead natural compound, wortmannin, confirmed its capacity to enhance the AvBD9 gene expression in the duodenum of chickens. Besides AvBD9, most other chicken HDP genes were also induced by wortmannin. Additionally, butyrate was also found to synergize with wortmannin and several other newly-identified compounds in AvBD9 induction in HTC cells. Furthermore, wortmannin acted synergistically with butyrate in augmenting the antibacterial activity of chicken monocytes. Therefore, these natural HDP-inducing products may have the potential to be developed individually or in combinations as novel antibiotic alternatives for disease control and prevention in poultry and possibly other animal species including humans.

High-Throughput-Screening-for-Natural-Host-Defense-Peptide-Inducing-Compounds-as-Novel-Alternatives-to-Antibiotics

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