A Novel Short Peptide for Anti Bacterial Treatment

Engelberg-Kulka Hanna, HUJI, School of Medicine - IMRIC, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics


  • The invention brings a new modality of anti-bacterial treatment as a stand-alone therapy or combined with antibiotics

    The bacterial toxin MazF induces bacterial cell death by triggering downstream death pathways. The labile anti-toxin MazE is constantly synthesized by bacteria and inactivates MazF by sequestering it.
  • Several antibiotics, such as rifampicin, chloramphenicol, mitomycin C act by affecting the MazF/MazE balance.

The Innovation:

a Peptide-Based Induction of Bacterial Cell Death :

  • The invention is based on the recently discovered Extracellular Death Factor (EDF). EDF is a secreted bacterial pentapeptide which induces MazF-mediated cell death. EDF is the only naturally-occurring peptide known to act as a ‘quorum sensing' DEATH factor.
  • EDF target bacteria includes different E.coli strains. Staphylicoccus aureus, Psedomonas aeruginosa, and Bacillus subtilis EDF-like factors are under current research. 
  • The innovation concerns also EDF antagonists, which may confer antibiotic sensitivity by inducing mazEF plasmid loss.
  • EDF-based antibacterial composition may be used for sterilizing as well as for pharmaceutical purposes.
  • Possibility of modifying the EDF original sequence by the addition of amino acids and other moieties, thus improving physiological properties and allowing different administration modes.

The Applications for use:

  • The list of conditions induced by potentially EDF-targeted bacteria includes: diarrhea, dysentery, hemorrhagic colitis, pyogenic infection, abscesses, septicaemia, pneumonia, meningitis, lung infection, cystic fibrosis.
  • EDF-based compounds provide a new and specific venue to induce bacterial cell death.

Current Development Stage

Proof of concept established in different E.coli strains.


Patent Status

Granted US 9,012,152

Contact for more information:

Mel Larrosa
VP Business Development Healthcare
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