Treatment of oral biofilms by a D-enantiomeric peptide

Tian Zhang, Zhejun Wang, Robert Hancock, César De La Fuente-Núñez, Markus Haapasalo

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15 Citations (Scopus)


Almost all dental diseases are caused by biofilms that consist of multispecies communities. DJK-5, which is a short D-enantiomeric, protease-resistant peptide with broad-spectrum anti-biofilm activity, was tested for its effect on oral multispecies biofilms. Peptide DJK-5 at 10 μg/mL effectively prevented the growth of these microbes in culture media in a timedependent manner. In addition to the prevention of growth, peptide DJK-5 completely killed both Streptococcus mutans and Enterococcus faecalis suspended from biofilms after 30 minutes of incubation in liquid culture media. DJK-5 also led to the effective killing of microbes in plaque biofilm. The proportion of bacterial cells killed by 10 μg/mL of DJK-5 was similar after 1 and 3 days, both exceeding 85%. DJK-5 was able to significantly prevent biofilm formation over 3 days (P = 0.000). After 72 hours of exposure, DJK-5 significantly reduced and almost completely prevented plaque biofilm production by more than 90% of biovolume compared to untreated controls (P = 0.000). The proportion of dead biofilm bacteria at the 10 μg/mL DJK-5 concentration was similar for 1- and 3-day-old biofilms, whereby >86% of the bacteria were killed. DJK-5 was also able to kill >79% and >85% of bacteria, respectively, after one-time and three brief treatments of 3-day-old biofilms. The combination of DJK-5 and chlorhexidine showed the best bacterial killing among all treatments, with ∼83% and >88% of bacterial cells killed after 1 and 3 minutes, respectively. No significant difference was found in the percentage of biofilm killing amongst three donor plaque samples after DJK-5 treatment. In particular, DJK-5 showed strong performance in inhibiting biofilm development and eradicating pre-formed oral biofilms compared to L-enantiomeric peptide 1018. DJK-5 was very effective against oral biofilms when used alone or combined with chlorhexidine, and may be a promising agent for use in oral anti-biofilm strategies in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0166997
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

Cite this

Zhang, T., Wang, Z., Hancock, R., De La Fuente-Núñez, C., & Haapasalo, M. (2016). Treatment of oral biofilms by a D-enantiomeric peptide. PLoS ONE, 11(11), [e0166997].