Synergistic efficacy of Aedes aegypti antimicrobial peptide cecropin A2 and tetracycline against Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Zhaojun Zheng, Nagendran Tharmalingam, Qingzhong Liu, Elamparithi Jayamani, Wooseong Kim, Beth Burgwyn Fuchs, Rijun Zhang, Andreas Vilcinskas, Eleftherios Mylonakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


The increasing prevalence of antibiotic resistance has created an urgent need for alternative drugs with new mechanisms of action. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are promising candidates that could address the spread of multidrugresistant bacteria, either alone or in combination with conventional antibiotics. We studied the antimicrobial efficacy and bactericidal mechanism of cecropin A2, a 36- residue α-helical cationic peptide derived from Aedes aegypti cecropin A, focusing on the common pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The peptide showed little hemolytic activity and toxicity toward mammalian cells, and the MICs against most clinical P. aeruginosa isolates were 32 to 64 μg/ml, and its MICs versus other Gramnegative bacteria were 2 to 32 μg/ml. Importantly, cecropin A2 demonstrated synergistic activity against P. aeruginosa when combined with tetracycline, reducing the MICs of both agents by 8-fold. The combination was also effective in vivo in the P. aeruginosa/Galleria mellonella model (P < 0.001). We found that cecropin A2 bound to P. aeruginosa lipopolysaccharides, permeabilized the membrane, and interacted with the bacterial genomic DNA, thus facilitating the translocation of tetracycline into the cytoplasm. In summary, the combination of cecropin A2 and tetracycline demonstrated synergistic antibacterial activity against P. aeruginosa in vitro and in vivo, offering an alternative approach for the treatment of P. aeruginosa infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00686-17
JournalAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2017


  • Antimicrobial activity
  • Antimicrobial peptide
  • Cecropin A2
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Tetracycline

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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