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Antimicrobial spectrum determination of the K5 type yeast killer protein and its kinetics of cell killing

Türel, Akif Emre
Some yeast strains under certain conditions secrete into the medium polypeptide toxins which are inhibitory to sensitive cells. These yeast strains are termed as killer yeasts and their toxins are designated as killer proteins or killer toxins. Killer proteins are classified into 11 typical types (K1-K11). These toxins have different killing mechanisms on sensitive cells. Some of them hydrolyze major cell wall component β-1,3- glucans. As mammalian cells lack cell walls research and development of novel highly selective antifungals are mostly focused on the agents which target the components of the fungal cell wall. We have previously characterized the K5 type killer protein. This protein is an exo β-1,3-glucanase which is stable at pH̕s and temperatures appropriate for its medical usage. β-1,3- glucan hydrolyzing activity of the K5 type killer protein highlighted the potential use of this protein as a selective antimycotic agent. Antifungal activity of the K5 type yeast killer protein was tested against 26 human pathogenic yeast and 9 dermathophyte strains and found to be affective on all of the tested strains. Toxin MIC50, MIC100 and MFC values were found to be between 0.25-4, 0.5-8, 1-8 æg/ml respectively except Candida krusei isolates. Cell killing analysis revealed that toxin activity starts within first 2 hours and complete cell death time differs due to the susceptibility of strains to the K5 type yeast killer protein. K5 type yeast killer protein would be used as a novel and selective agents with the results obtained from this study.