Nisin is an antimicrobial peptide commonly used as a food preservative since 1969. This peptide has potent antimicrobial activity against several Gram-positive bacterial strains, including clinically important and resistant pathogens. The combination of nisin with conventional antibiotics has been shown to improve the antimicrobial activity of these antibiotic agents. Apart from the antimicrobial properties of nisin, this AMP also displays promising anticancer potential towards several types of malignancies. The nisin Z variant is able to induce selective cytotoxicity in melanoma cells compared to non-malignant cells. It was shown that nisin Z disrupts the cell membrane integrity of melanoma cells and that cytotoxicity is likely due to the activation of an apoptotic pathway. In addition, when used in combination with the conventional chemotherapeutic agents, nisin Z has the potential to enhance the cytotoxicity of these chemotherapeutic agents against cultured melanoma cells. Nisin Z has great potential for clinical application considering its low cytotoxicity to non-malignant cells and its effectiveness against Gram-positive bacterial strains and certain cancers.
Part of the book: Cytotoxicity