Blow flyLucilia sericatanuclease digests DNA associated with wound slough/eschar and withPseudomonas aeruginosabiofilm

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Abstract.In chronic wounds, it may be clinically important to remove extracellular bacterial and patient DNA as its presence may impede wound healing and promote bacterial survival in biofilm, in which extracellular DNA forms part of the biofilm architecture. As medicinal maggots, larvae of Lucilia sericata Meigen (Diptera: Calliphoridae) have been shown to efficiently debride wounds it became of interest to investigate their excretions/secretions (ES) for the presence of a deoxyribonuclease (DNAse) activity. Excretions/secretions products were shown to contain a DNAse, with magnesium, sodium and calcium metal ion dependency, and a native molecular mass following affinity purification of approximately 45 kDa. The affinity purified DNAse degraded genomic bacterial DNA per se, DNA from the slough/eschar of a venous leg ulcer, and extracellular bacterial DNA in biofilms pre-formed from a clinical isolate of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The latter finding highlights an important attribute of the DNAse, given the frequency of P. aeruginosa infection in non-healing wounds and the fact that P. aeruginosa virulence factors can be toxic to maggots. Maggot DNAse is thus a competent enzyme derived from a rational source, with the potential to assist in clinical wound debridement by removing extracellular DNA from tissue and biofilm, and promoting tissue viability, while liberating proteinaceous slough/eschar for debridement by the suite of proteinases secreted by L. sericata.

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