Identification and characterisation of anti – Pseudomonas aeruginosa proteins in mucus of the brown garden snail, Cornu aspersum.
Background: Novel antimicrobial treatments are urgently needed. Previous work has shown that the mucus of the brown garden snail (Cornu aspersum) has antimicrobial properties, in particular against type culture collection strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. We hypothesised that it would also be effective against clinical isolates of the bacterium and that investigation of fractions of the mucus would identify one or more proteins with anti-pseudomonal properties, which could be further characterised. Materials and methods: Mucus was extracted from snails collected from the wild. Antimicrobial activity against laboratory and clinical isolates of Ps. aeruginosa was determined in disc diffusion assays. Mucus was purified using size exclusion chromatography and fractions containing anti-pseudomonal activity identified. Mass spectroscopy and high performance liquid chromatography analysis of these fractions yielded partial peptide sequences. These were used to interrogate an RNA transcriptome generated from whole snails. Results: Mucus from C. aspersum inhibited growth of type collection strains and clinical isolates of Ps. aeruginosa. Four novel C. aspersum proteins were identified; at least three are likely to have antimicrobial properties. The most interesting is a 37.4 kDa protein whilst smaller proteins, one 17.5 kDa and one 18.6 kDa also appear to have activity against Ps. aeruginosa.Conclusions: The study has identified novel proteins with antimicrobial properties which could be used to develop treatments for use in human medicine.