In vivo Efficacy and Pharmacokinetics of Optimized Apidaecin Analogs.
ABSTRACT: Proline-rich antimicrobial peptides (PrAMPs) represent promising alternative therapeutic options for the treatment of multidrug-resistant bacterial infections. PrAMPs are predominantly active against Gram-negative bacteria by inhibiting protein expression via at least two different modes of action, i.e., blocking the ribosomal exit tunnel of 70S ribosomes (oncocin-type binding) or inhibiting the assembly of the 50S ribosomal subunit (apidaecin-type binding). The in vivo efficacy and favorable biodistribution of oncocins confirmed the therapeutic potential of short PrAMPs for the first time, whereas the in vivo evaluation of apidaecins is still limited despite the promising efficacy of apidaecin-analog Api88 in an intraperitoneal murine infection model. Here, the in vivo efficacy of apidaecin-analog Api137 was studied, which rescued all NMRI mice from a lethal intraperitoneal infection with E. coli ATCC 25922 when administered three times intraperitoneal at doses of 0.6 mg/kg starting 1 h after infection. When Api88 and Api137 were administered intravenous or intraperitoneal at doses of 5 and 20 mg/kg, their plasma levels were similarly low (<3 ?g/mL) and four-fold lower than for oncocin-analog Onc72. This contradicted earlier expectation based on the very low serum stability of Api88 with a half-life time of only ~5 min compared to ~6 and ~3 h for Api137 and Onc72, respectively. Pharmacokinetic data relying on a sensitive mass spectrometry method utilizing multiple reaction monitoring and isotope-labeled peptides revealed that Api88 and Api137 were present in blood, urine, and kidney, and liver homogenates at similar levels accompanied by the same major metabolites comprising residues 1-16 and 1-17. The pretended discrepancy was solved, when all peptides were incubated in peritoneal lavage. Api137 was rapidly degraded at the C-terminus, while Api88 was rather stable despite releasing the same degradation products. Onc72 was very stable explaining its higher plasma levels compared to Api88 and Api137 after intraperitoneal administration illuminating its good in vivo efficacy. The data indicate that the degradation of therapeutic peptides should be studied in serum and further body fluids. Moreover, the high efficacy in murine infection models and the fast clearance of Api88 and Api137 within ~60 min after intravenous and ~90 min after intraperitoneal injections indicate that their in vivo efficacy relates to the maximal peptide concentration achieved in blood.
Project description:Proline-rich antimicrobial peptides (PrAMPs) from insects and mammals have recently been evaluated for their pharmaceutical potential in treating systemic bacterial infections. Besides the native peptides, several shortened, modified, or even artificial sequences were highly effective in different murine infection models. Most recently, we showed that the 18-residue-long peptide Api88, an optimized version of apidaecin 1b, was efficient in two different animal infection models using the pathogenic Escherichia coli strains ATCC 25922 and Neumann, with a promising safety margin. Here, we show that Api88 is degraded relatively fast upon incubation with mouse serum, by cleavage of the C-terminal leucine residue. To improve its in vitro characteristics, we aimed to improve its serum stability. Replacing the C-terminal amide by the free acid or substituting Arg-17 with l-ornithine or l-homoarginine increased the serum stabilities by more than 20-fold (half-life, ?4 to 6 h). These analogs were nontoxic to human embryonic kidney (HEK 293), human hepatoma (HepG2), SH-SY5Y, and HeLa cells and nonhemolytic to human erythrocytes. The binding constants of all three analogs with the chaperone DnaK, which is proposed as the bacterial target of PrAMPs, were very similar to that of Api88. Of all the analogs tested, Api137 (Gu-ONNRPVYIPRPRPPHPRL; Gu is N,N,N',N'-tetramethylguanidino) appeared most promising due to its high antibacterial activity, which was very similar to Api88. Positional alanine and d-amino acid scans of Api137 indicated that substitutions of residues 1 to 13 had only minor effects on the activity against an E. coli strain, whereas substitutions of residues 14 to 18 decreased the activity dramatically. Based on the significantly improved resistance to proteolysis, Api137 appears to be a very promising lead compound that should be even more efficient in vivo than Api88.
Project description:In view of increasing health threats from multiresistant pathogens, antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) and, specifically, proline-rich AMPs (PrAMPs) have been investigated in animal models. PrAMPs enter bacteria via the ABC transporter SbmA and inhibit intracellular targets. We used phage transduction (Tn10 insertion) to screen by random mutagenesis for alternative uptake mechanisms for analogs of apidaecin 1b, a honeybee-derived PrAMP. All 24 apidaecin-resistant mutants had the Tn10 insertion in the sbmA gene. These sbmA::Tn10 insertion mutants and the Escherichia coli BW25113 ?sbmA (JW0368) strain were still susceptible to the bactenecin PrAMP Bac7(1-35) and oncocin PrAMPs Onc18 and Onc112, as well as to Chex1-Arg20, despite significantly reduced internalizations. In a second round of random mutagenesis, the remaining susceptibility was linked to the yjiL-mdtM gene cluster. E. coli BW25113 and its ?yjiL null mutant (JW5785) were equally susceptible to all PrAMPs tested, whereas the BW25113 ?mdtM mutant was less susceptible to oncocins. The JW0368 yjiL::Tn10 transposon mutant (BS2) was resistant to all short PrAMPs and susceptible only to full-length Bac7 and A3-APO. Interestingly, PrAMPs appear to enter bacteria via MdtM, a multidrug resistance transporter (drug/H(+) antiporter) of the major facilitator superfamily (MFS) that can efflux antibiotics, biocides, and bile salts. In conclusion, PrAMPs enter bacteria via ABC and MFS transporters that efflux antibiotics and cytotoxic compounds from the cytoplasm to the periplasm.
Project description:Apidaecins are cationic, proline-rich antimicrobial peptides originally isolated from honeybees and exhibit high Gram-negative activity by inhibiting bacterial protein translation. Pharmacokinetics of apidaecin derivative Api137 was studied using single and multiple intravenous or subcutaneous injections as well as continuous subcutaneous infusion and correlated to its efficacy in a lethal murine Escherichia coli infection model. Survival rates of infected CD-1 mice were monitored and Api137 and its metabolites were quantified in plasma of uninfected CD-1 mice and Sprague Dawley rats using reversed-phase chromatography coupled online to mass spectrometry. The highest Api137 plasma levels of 23 mg/L were obtained after a single intravenous injection of 20 mg/kg body weight, which declined fast over the next 120 min (half-life time < 30 min). In contrast, continuous subcutaneous infusion of a similar dose over an hour (19.2 mg/kg/h) lead to stable plasma levels of ?6 mg/L, which was above the minimal inhibitory concentration against E. coli ATCC 25922 (4 mg/L). The increased exposure by continuous subcutaneous administration of Api137 at 19.2 mg/kg/h over 48 h improved efficacy in the murine intraperitoneal sepsis model with survival rates of 67% over 5 days compared to 33% after intravenous and subcutaneous administration in different dosing schemes. To the best of our knowledge, continuous subcutaneous infusion using osmotic pumps was successfully utilized for delivery of an antimicrobial peptide for the first time. Additionally, the potential of apidaecin analogs as novel antibiotics is demonstrated even in a scenario where the infection site is clearly separated from the route of administration.
Project description:Proline-rich antimicrobial peptides (PrAMPs) kill bacteria via a nonlytic mechanism in which they permeate through the outer membrane, utilize protein-mediated transport across the inner membrane, and target the ribosome to inhibit protein synthesis. We previously reported that substitutions of oncocin ( VDKPPYLPRPRPPRRIYNR-NH2 ) with a pair of cationic residues improved the antimicrobial activity. In this study, we applied the design protocol to three other PrAMPs: apidaecin-1b, pyrrhocoricin, and bactenecin 7(1-16) and found that the substitutions (R4K and I8K/R) for apidaecin-1b improve the activity by twofold (p?<?.05) against nonpathogenic Escherichia coli. Moreover, the substitutions (L7K/R and R14K) for pyrrhocoricin improve the activity by 2-10-fold (p?<?.05) against some strains of E. coli and Salmonella Typhimurium. We also performed activity tests against inner membrane protein (SbmA or YgdD) knockout strains. The result is consistent with previous studies that SbmA is the major transporter for apidaecin-1b and pyrrhocoricin derivatives. However, bactenecin 7(1-16) functions independently of these transporters. In addition, several apidaecin-1b derivatives exhibit enhanced activity relative to wild-type only in the absence of SbmA, which is consistent with mutations that enhance transport across the inner membrane. A high performance liquid chromatography-based kinetic assay for cellular association and internalization demonstrates that the selected cationic mutations can improve cellular association in minimal media, but this enhanced association is not required for increased activity, which suggests the importance of inner membrane transport. These functional studies on cationic mutants of PrAMPs advance understanding of potency and mechanism and advance the ability to engineer improved antimicrobials as evidenced by the identification of the pyrrhocoricin mutant (L7R and R14K) with 10-fold elevated potency against pathogenic E. coli.
Project description:Proline-rich antimicrobial peptides (PrAMPs) produced as part of the innate immune response of animals, insects and plants represent a vast, untapped resource for the treatment of multidrug-resistant bacterial infections. PrAMPs such as oncocin or bactenecin-7 (Bac7) interact with the bacterial ribosome to inhibit translation, but their supposed specificity as inhibitors of bacterial rather than mammalian protein synthesis remains unclear, despite being key to developing drugs with low toxicity. Here, we present crystal structures of the Thermus thermophilus 70S ribosome in complex with the first 16 residues of mammalian Bac7, as well as the insect-derived PrAMPs metalnikowin I and pyrrhocoricin. The structures reveal that the mammalian Bac7 interacts with a similar region of the ribosome as insect-derived PrAMPs. Consistently, Bac7 and the oncocin derivative Onc112 compete effectively with antibiotics, such as erythromycin, which target the ribosomal exit tunnel. Moreover, we demonstrate that Bac7 allows initiation complex formation but prevents entry into the elongation phase of translation, and show that it inhibits translation on both mammalian and bacterial ribosomes, explaining why this peptide needs to be stored as an inactive pro-peptide. These findings highlight the need to consider the specificity of PrAMP derivatives for the bacterial ribosome in future drug development efforts.
Project description:With bacterial resistance becoming a serious threat to global public health, antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) have become a promising area of focus in antibiotic research. AMPs are derived from a diverse range of species, from prokaryotes to humans, with a mechanism of action that often involves disruption of the bacterial cell membrane. Proline-rich antimicrobial peptides (PrAMPs) are instead actively transported inside the bacterial cell where they bind and inactivate specific targets. Recently, it was reported that some PrAMPs, such as Bac71 -35, oncocins and apidaecins, bind and inactivate the bacterial ribosome. Here we report the crystal structures of Bac71 -35, Pyrrhocoricin, Metalnikowin and two oncocin derivatives, bound to the Thermus thermophilus 70S ribosome. Each of the PrAMPs blocks the peptide exit tunnel of the ribosome by simultaneously occupying three well characterized antibiotic-binding sites and interferes with the initiation step of translation, thereby revealing a common mechanism of action used by these PrAMPs to inactivate protein synthesis. Our study expands the repertoire of PrAMPs and provides a framework for designing new-generation therapeutics.
Project description:Many antibiotics stop bacterial growth by inhibiting different steps of protein synthesis. However, no specific inhibitors of translation termination are known. Proline-rich antimicrobial peptides, a component of the antibacterial defense system of multicellular organisms, interfere with bacterial growth by inhibiting translation. Here we show that Api137, a derivative of the insect-produced antimicrobial peptide apidaecin, arrests terminating ribosomes using a unique mechanism of action. Api137 binds to the Escherichia coli ribosome and traps release factor (RF) RF1 or RF2 subsequent to the release of the nascent polypeptide chain. A high-resolution cryo-EM structure of the ribosome complexed with RF1 and Api137 reveals the molecular interactions that lead to RF trapping. Api137-mediated depletion of the cellular pool of free release factors causes the majority of ribosomes to stall at stop codons before polypeptide release, thereby resulting in a global shutdown of translation termination.
Project description:Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are a global health issue necessitating the development of new effective therapeutics. Proline-rich antimicrobial peptides (PrAMPs), which include oncocins, are an extensively studied class of AMPs that counteract bacterial infection at submicromolar concentrations. Oncocins enter and kill bacteria by inhibiting certain targets rather than by acting through membrane lysis. Although they have recently been reported to bind DnaK and the bacterial ribosome, their mode of inhibition has remained elusive. Here we report the crystal structure of the oncocin derivative Onc112 bound to the Thermus thermophilus 70S ribosome. Strikingly, this 19-residue proline-rich peptide manifests the features of several known classes of ribosome inhibitors by simultaneously blocking the peptidyl transferase center and the peptide-exit tunnel of the ribosome. This high-resolution structure thus reveals the mechanism by which oncocins inhibit protein synthesis, providing an opportunity for structure-based design of new-generation therapeutics.
Project description:Lantibiotics are antimicrobial (methyl)lanthionine-containing peptides produced by various Gram-positive bacteria. The model lantibiotic, nisin, binds lipid II in the cell membrane. Additionally, after binding it can insert into the membrane creating a pore. Nisin can efficiently inhibit the growth of Gram-positive bacteria and resistance is rarely observed. However, the activity of lantibiotics is at least 100-fold lower against certain Gram-negative bacteria. This is caused by the fact that Gram-negative bacteria have an outer membrane that hinders the peptides to reach lipid II, which is located in the inner membrane. Improving the activity of lantibiotics against Gram-negative bacteria could be achieved if the outer membrane traversing efficiency is increased. Here, several anti-Gram-negative peptides (e.g., apidaecin 1b, oncocin), or parts thereof, were fused to the C-terminus of either a truncated version of nisin containing the first three/five rings or full length nisin. The activities of these fusion peptides were tested against Gram-negative pathogens. Our results showed that when an eight amino acids (PRPPHPRL) tail from apidaecin 1b was attached to nisin, the activity of nisin against Escherichia coli CECT101 was increased more than two times. This research presents a new and promising method to increase the anti-Gram-negative activity of lantibiotics.
Project description:The Gram-negative bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a life-threatening nosocomial pathogen due to its generally low susceptibility toward antibiotics. Furthermore, many strains have acquired resistance mechanisms requiring new antimicrobials with novel mechanisms to enhance treatment options. Proline-rich antimicrobial peptides, such as the apidaecin analog Api137, are highly efficient against various Enterobacteriaceae infections in mice, but less active against P. aeruginosa in vitro. Here, we extended our recent work by optimizing lead peptides Api755 (gu-OIORPVYOPRPRPPHPRL-OH; gu = N,N,N',N'-tetramethylguanidino, O = L-ornithine) and Api760 (gu-OWORPVYOPRPRPPHPRL-OH) by incorporation of Ile-Orn- and Trp-Orn-motifs, respectively. Api795 (gu-O(IO)2RPVYOPRPRPPHPRL-OH) and Api794 (gu-O(WO)3RPVYOPRPRPPHPRL-OH) were highly active against P. aeruginosa with minimal inhibitory concentrations of 8-16 and 8-32 ?g/mL against Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae. Assessed using a quartz crystal microbalance, these peptides inserted into a membrane layer and the surface activity increased gradually from Api137, over Api795, to Api794. This mode of action was confirmed by transmission electron microscopy indicating some membrane damage only at the high peptide concentrations. Api794 and Api795 were highly stable against serum proteases (half-life times >5 h) and non-hemolytic to human erythrocytes at peptide concentrations of 0.6 g/L. At this concentration, Api795 reduced the cell viability of HeLa cells only slightly, whereas the IC50 of Api794 was 0.23 ± 0.09 g/L. Confocal fluorescence microscopy revealed no colocalization of 5(6)-carboxyfluorescein-labeled Api794 or Api795 with the mitochondria, excluding interactions with the mitochondrial membrane. Interestingly, Api795 was localized in endosomes, whereas Api794 was present in endosomes and the cytosol. This was verified using flow cytometry showing a 50% higher uptake of Api794 in HeLa cells compared with Api795. The uptake was reduced for both peptides by 50 and 80%, respectively, after inhibiting endocytotic uptake with dynasore. In summary, Api794 and Api795 were highly active against P. aeruginosa in vitro. Both peptides passed across the bacterial membrane efficiently, most likely then disturbing the ribosome assembly, and resulting in further intracellular damage. Api795 with its IOIO-motif, which was particularly active and only slightly toxic in vitro, appears to represent a promising third generation lead compound for the development of novel antibiotics against P. aeruginosa.