Antimicrobial peptides and the interplay between microbes and host: towards preventing porcine infections with Streptococcus suis

Rogier A. Gaiser

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


The increasing prevalence of antibiotic resistance in pathogenic bacteria and the potential future implications for human and animal morbidity and mortality, health-care costs and economic losses pose an urgent worldwide problem. As a result, exploration of alternative strategies to combat antibiotic resistant bacteria have intensified over the last decades. The work described in this thesis focused on the study of naturally occurring antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) and other bioactive molecules produced by bacteria as potential alternatives to prevent or treat infections with pathogenic bacteria. A large part of the thesis aimed to increase knowledge about the role of the microbiota (the collection of microbes present at a certain location of the body) of the oral cavity or small intestine in the abundance of Streptococcus suis, a pathogenic bacteria that mostly causes disease in young pigs. We identified commensal bacteria that displayed strong and selective antagonism against this S. suis. Several bacteria that showed strong growth inhibition of S. suis in the lab through the production of AMPs were isolated and characterised. This thesis increased the understanding of the role of host- and microbiota-derived biologically active small molecules in microbe-microbe and microbe-host interplay. Such knowledge may contribute to the development of novel therapeutic solutions to treat antibiotic resistant bacteria, such as beneficial microbial communities (i.e. next-generation probiotics) or biotechnological applications of natural or modified AMPs.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
  • Wells, Jerry, Promotor
  • van Baarlen, Peter, Co-promotor
Award date7 Oct 2016
Place of PublicationWageningen
Print ISBNs9789462578913
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • antimicrobial peptides
  • streptococcus suis
  • infections
  • bacteria
  • microorganisms
  • host pathogen interactions
  • pigs


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