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Antonello, Ana Maria; Sartori, Thais; Folmer Correa, Ana Paula; Brandelli, Adriano; Heermann, Ralf; Rodrigues Junior, Luiz Carlos; Peres, Alessandra; Torres Romao, Pedro Roosevelt and Silva, Onilda Santos da (2018): Entomopathogenic bacteria Photorhabdus luminescens as drug source against Leishmania amazonensis. In: Parasitology, Vol. 145, No. 8: pp. 1065-1074

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Leishmaniasis is a widely spread and zoonotic disease with serious problems as low effectiveness of drugs, emergence of parasite resistance and severe adverse reactions. In recent years, considerable attention has been given to secondary metabolites produced by Photorhabdus luminescens, an entomopathogenic bacterium. Here, we assessed the leishmanicidal activity of P. luminescens culture fluids. Initially, promastigotes of Leishmania amazonensis were incubated with cell free conditioned medium of P. luminescens and parasite survival was monitored. Different pre-treatments of the conditioned medium revealed that the leishmanicidal activity is due to a secreted peptide smaller than 3 kDa. The Photorhabdus-derived leishmanicidal toxin (PLT) was enriched from conditioned medium and its effect on mitochondrial membrane potential of promastigotes, was determined. Moreover, the biological activity of PLT against amastigotes was evaluated. PLT inhibited the parasite growth and showed significant leishmanicidal activity against promastigote and amastigotes of L. amazonensis. PLT also caused mitochondrial dysfunction in parasites, but low toxicity to mammalian cell and human erythrocytes. Moreover, the anti-amastigote activity was independent of nitric oxide production. In summary, our results highlight that P. luminescens secretes Leishmania-toxic peptide(s) that are promising novel drugs for therapy against leishmaniasis.

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