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Microbiota-derived lantibiotic restores resistance against vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus

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Sohn G. Kim et al.

Nature. 21 August 2019

COMMENT: This work demonstrates how lantibiotics produced by some commensal bacteria are able to inhibit the colonization of the gut by pathogens as important as the vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE), a leading cause of hospital-acquired infections.

The authors focus their attention on Blautia producta BPSCSK, a commensal bacteria of the human gut that produces a lantibiotic similar to nisin A produced by Lactococcus lactis.  An important difference discovered by the authors is that Blautia producta BPSCSK’s lantibiotic has a lower activity against intestinal commensal bacteria than nisin A. It could be definitive for its capacity of providing colonization resistance to the pathogen Enterococcus faecium in human gastrointestinal tract.

The secretion of lantibiotics by commensal bacteria could be a manner to shape the community structure of the microbiota reducing the colonization by pathogens.

CONCLUSIONS:

A potential clinical role for lantibiotics is supported by a previous report that uses lantibiotic-producing commensal Staphylococcus species on the skin to provide colonization resistance against Staphylococcus aureus. Understanding the mechanisms by which the microbiota confers colonization resistance may lead to the development of therapies to repair dysbiosis, thereby reducing susceptible patients’ risk of colonization by antibiotic-resistant pathogens.

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Raquel Tobes