Submitted to: Future Microbiology
Publication Type: Review article
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/24/2012
Publication Date: 10/2/2012
Citation: Schmelcher, M., Donovan, D.M., Loessner, M. 2012. Bacteriophage endolysins as novel antimicrobials. Future Microbiology. Interpretive Summary: n/a
Technical Abstract: Endolysins are enzymes used by bacteriophages at the end of their replication cycle to degrade the peptidoglycan of the bacterial host from within, resulting in cell lysis and release of progeny virions. Due to the absence of an outer membrane in the Gram-positive bacterial cell wall, endolysins can access the peptidoglycan and destroy these organisms when applied externally, making them interesting antimicrobial candidates, particularly in the light of increasing bacterial drug-resistance. This article reviews the modular structure of these enzymes, in which cell wall binding and catalytic functions are separated, their mechanism of action, lytic activity, and their potential as antimicrobials. It particularly focusses on molecular engineering as a means of optimizing endolysins for specific applications, highlights new developments that may render these proteins active against Gram-negative and intracellular pathogens, and summarizes the most recent applications of endolysins in the fields of medicine, food safety, agriculture, and biotechnology.