Open Access Research article

In vivo activity of Nisin A and Nisin V against Listeria monocytogenes in mice

Alicia Campion1, Pat G Casey13, Des Field1*, Paul D Cotter23, Colin Hill13* and R Paul Ross23

Author affiliations

1 Department of Microbiology, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland

2 Teagasc, Moorepark Food Research Centre, Fermoy, Co, Cork, Ireland

3 Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland

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Citation and License

BMC Microbiology 2013, 13:23  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-13-23

Published: 1 February 2013



Lantibiotics are post-translationally modified antimicrobial peptides, of which nisin A is the most extensively studied example. Bioengineering of nisin A has resulted in the generation of derivatives with increased in vitro potency against Gram-positive bacteria. Of these, nisin V (containing a Met21Val change) is noteworthy by virtue of exhibiting enhanced antimicrobial efficacy against a wide range of clinical and food-borne pathogens, including Listeria monocytogenes. However, this increased potency has not been tested in vivo.


Here we address this issue by assessing the ability of nisin A and nisin V to control a bioluminescent strain of Listeria monocytogenes EGDe in a murine infection model.

More specifically, Balb/c mice were infected via the intraperitoneal route at a dose of 1 × 105 cfu/animal and subsequently treated intraperitoneally with either nisin V, nisin A or a PBS control. Bioimaging of the mice was carried out on day 3 of the trial. Animals were then sacrificed and levels of infection were quantified in the liver and spleen.


This analysis revealed that nisin V was more effective than Nisin A with respect to controlling infection and therefore merits further investigation with a view to potential chemotherapeutic applications.

Antimicrobial; Lantibiotic; Bacteriocin; Peptide engineering; Mutagenesis; Nisin