Treatment of Oral Multispecies Biofilms by an Anti-Biofilm Peptide

PLoS One. 2015 Jul 13;10(7):e0132512. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0132512. eCollection 2015.


Human oral biofilms are multispecies microbial communities that exhibit high resistance to antimicrobial agents. Dental plaque gives rise to highly prevalent and costly biofilm-related oral infections, which lead to caries or other types of oral infections. We investigated the ability of the recently identified anti-biofilm peptide 1018 to induce killing of bacterial cells present within oral multispecies biofilms. At 10 μg/ml (6.5 μM), peptide 1018 was able to significantly (p<0.05) prevent biofilm formation over 3 days. The activity of the peptide on preformed biofilms was found to be concentration-dependent since more than 60% of the total plaque biofilm cell population was killed by 10 μg/ml of peptide 1018 in 3 days, while at 5 μg/ml 50% of cells were dead and at 1 μg/ml the peptide triggered cell death in around 30% of the total bacterial population, as revealed by confocal microscopy. The presence of saliva did not affect peptide activity, since no statistically significant difference was found in the ability of peptide 1018 to kill oral biofilms using either saliva coated and non-saliva coated hydroxyapatite surfaces. Scanning electron microscopy experiments indicated that peptide 1018 induced cell lysis in plaque biofilms. Furthermore, combined treatment using peptide 1018 and chlorhexidine (CHX) increased the anti-biofilm activity of each compound compared to when these were used alone, resulting in >50% of the biofilm being killed and >35% being dispersed in only 3 minutes. Peptide 1018 may potentially be used by itself or in combination with CHX as a non-toxic and effective anti-biofilm agent for plaque disinfection in clinical dentistry.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides / pharmacology*
  • Biofilms / drug effects*
  • Chlorhexidine / pharmacology
  • Dental Plaque / drug therapy
  • Dental Plaque / microbiology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Enterococcus faecalis / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Mouthwashes / pharmacology
  • Streptococcus mutans / drug effects


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides
  • Mouthwashes
  • innate defense regulating peptide 1018
  • Chlorhexidine