Metal Chelators that Prevent Pseudomonas Biofilms in Medical & Other Applications
Lactoferrin & conalbumin, proteinaceous metal chelators, have been shown to prevent and break down Pseudomas aeruginosa biofilms by sequestering free iron.
UIRF Case #:02042
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Singh PK, Parsek MR, Greenberg EP, Welsh MJ. A component of innate immunity prevents bacterial biofilm development. Nature. 2002 May 30;417(6888):552-5.
Level of Development
General: Experimental Proof of Concept
Researchers at the University of Iowa have identified a pair of proteinaceous metal chelators, lactoferrin and conalbumin, that are able to prevent and dissipate Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms. These compositions are able to bind free iron, which is required for biofilm formation by the pathogen. With this co-factor removed, the protective biofilm disperses and the constituent bacterial cells lose the protective aspects of the biofilms. For example, the resistance to commonly used antibiotics, such as tobramycin, ciprofloxin, aminoglycosides, etc. which is conferred by the biofilm is lost when these drugs are co-administered with the proteinaceous metal chelators. This is illustrated in the colony formation assay experiment below in which tobramycin and hydrogen peroxide are used to treat a P. aeruginosa biofilm alone and in conjunction with conalbumin. These compositions are also effective outside of medicine where biofilms are also an issue, such as water treatment and other industrial applications.