In Silico and In Vitro Analyses Reveal Promising Antimicrobial Peptides from Myxobacteria

Benita S. Arakal, David E. Whitworth, Philip E. James, Richard Rowlands, Neethu P.T. Madhusoodanan, Malvika R. Baijoo, Paul G. Livingstone*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (SciVal)
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Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a global concern, and as soon as new antibiotics are introduced, resistance to those agents emerges. Therefore, there is an increased appetite for alternative antimicrobial agents to traditional antibiotics. Here, we used in silico methods to investigate potential antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) from predatory myxobacteria. Six hundred seventy-two potential AMP sequences were extracted from eight complete myxobacterial genomes. Most putative AMPs were predicted to be active against Klebsiella pneumoniae with least activity being predicted against Staphylococcus aureus. One hundred seventeen AMPs (defined here as ‘potent putative AMPs’) were predicted to have very good activity against more than two bacterial pathogens, and these were characterized further in silico. All potent putative AMPs were predicted to have anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties, but none was predicted to be active against viruses. Twenty six (22%) of them were predicted to be hemolytic to human erythrocytes, five were predicted to have anticancer properties, and 56 (47%) were predicted to be biofilm active. In vitro assays using four synthesized AMPs showed high MIC values (e.g. So_ce_56_913 250 µg/ml and Coral_AMP411 125 µg/ml against E. coli). However, antibiofilm assays showed a substantial reduction in numbers (e.g. Coral_AMP411 and Myxo_mac104 showed a 69% and 73% reduction, respectively, at the lowest concentration against E. coli) compared to traditional antibiotics. Fourteen putative AMPs had high sequence similarity to proteins which were functionally associated with proteins of known function. The myxobacterial genomes also possessed a variety of biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) that can encode antimicrobial secondary metabolites, but their numbers did not correlate with those of the AMPs. We suggest that AMPs from myxobacteria are a promising source of novel antimicrobial agents with a plethora of biological properties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202-214
Number of pages13
JournalProbiotics and Antimicrobial Proteins
Issue number1
Early online date31 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - 01 Feb 2023


  • Antimicrobial peptides
  • Biosynthetic gene clusters
  • In silico analysis
  • Myxobacteria


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