Lytic enzymes encoded by bacteriophages have been intensively explored as alternative agents for combating bacterial pathogens in different contexts. The antibacterial character of these enzymes (enzybiotics) results from their degrading activity towards peptidoglycan, an essential component of the bacterial cell wall. In fact, phage lytic products have the capacity to kill target bacteria when added exogenously in the form of recombinant proteins. However, there is also growing recognition that the natural bactericidal activity of these agents can, and sometimes needs to be, substantially improved through manipulation of their functional domains or by equipping them with new functions. In addition, often, native lytic proteins exhibit features that restrict their applicability as effective antibacterials, such as poor solubility or reduced stability. Here, I present an overview of the engineering approaches that can be followed not only to overcome these and other restrictions, but also to generate completely new antibacterial agents with significantly enhanced characteristics. As conventional antibiotics are running short, the remarkable progress in this field opens up the possibility of tailoring efficient enzybiotics to tackle the most menacing bacterial infections.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited