Effects of Sodium Octanoate, Acylated Ghrelin, and Desacylated Ghrelin on the Growth of Genetically Engineered Escherichia Coli
Acylated ghrelin is a 28-amino acid peptide hormone bearing a fatty acid group based on octanoic acid (caprylic acid) at the serine which is located at position 3 and at the N-terminus. If this fatty acid is cleaved from acylated ghrelin, the remaining peptide is referred to as desacylated ghrelin. Free fatty acids (FFAs) can kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria. The purpose of this study was to test this ability using acylated ghrelin, desacylated ghrelin, and sodium octanoate (caprylic acid) as carbon sources for the genetically engineered Escherichia coli strains MK79 and MK57. For this experimental work, minimal medium was modified by replacing glucose with equal concentrations of acylated ghrelin, desacylated ghrelin, or sodium octanoate. Bacterial optical density, viability, alpha-amylase production, plasmid stability and pH of the growth medium were measured during these experiments. The media that allowed most growth, based on viable cell counts and the OD600 of MK79, was minimal medium, followed by the medium containing desacylated ghrelin or acylated ghrelin, and finally the medium containing sodium octanoate. The same order was observed for MK57. Neither of the strains lost plasmids during the entire course of each experiment. There was also little change in the pH of any of the media used for both strains. These results suggest that sodium octanoate, acylated ghrelin, and desacylated ghrelin, when compared with minimal medium, inhibit Escherichia coli growth. Proliferation was lowest when sodium octanoate was used as the carbon source, followed by acylated ghrelin and desacylated ghrelin. Therefore, the acylated ghrelin found previously in human saliva might help to inhibit pathogenic microorganisms, and acylated ghrelin levels below a critical concentration in saliva could result in an increased risk of oral infection.