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Efficacy of a Marine Bacterial Nuclease against Biofilm Forming Microorganisms Isolated from Chronic Rhinosinusitis

Lookup NU author(s): Robert Shields, Dr Norehan Mokhtar, Dr Michael HallORCiD, Professor Grant Burgess, Mohamed Elbadawey, Professor Nicholas JakubovicsORCiD



Background: The persistent colonization of paranasal sinus mucosa by microbial biofilms is a major factor in the pathogenesis of chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS). Control of microorganisms within biofilms is hampered by the presence of viscous extracellular polymers of host or microbial origin, including nucleic acids. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of extracellular DNA in biofilm formation by bacteria associated with CRS.Methods/Principal Findings: Obstructive mucin was collected from patients during functional endoscopic sinus surgery. Examination of the mucous by transmission electron microscopy revealed an acellular matrix punctuated occasionally with host cells in varying states of degradation. Bacteria were observed in biofilms on mucosal biopsies, and between two and six different species were isolated from each of 20 different patient samples. In total, 16 different bacterial genera were isolated, of which the most commonly identified organisms were coagulase-negative staphylococci, Staphylococcus aureus and ahaemolytic streptococci. Twenty-four fresh clinical isolates were selected for investigation of biofilm formation in vitro using a microplate model system. Biofilms formed by 14 strains, including all 9 extracellular nuclease-producing bacteria, were significantly disrupted by treatment with a novel bacterial deoxyribonuclease, NucB, isolated from a marine strain of Bacillus licheniformis. Extracellular biofilm matrix was observed in untreated samples but not in those treated with NucB and extracellular DNA was purified from in vitro biofilms.Conclusion/Significance: Our data demonstrate that bacteria associated with CRS form robust biofilms which can be reduced by treatment with matrix-degrading enzymes such as NucB. The dispersal of bacterial biofilms with NucB may offer an additional therapeutic target for CRS sufferers.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Shields RC, Mokhtar N, Ford M, Hall MJ, Burgess JG, ElBadawey MR, Jakubovics NS

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: PLoS One

Year: 2013

Volume: 8

Issue: 2

Print publication date: 18/02/2013

Date deposited: 09/07/2013

ISSN (electronic): 1932-6203

Publisher: Public Library of Science


DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0055339


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Funder referenceFunder name
Centre for Oral Health Research at Newcastle University