Novel Self-Assembled Micelles Based on Cholesterol-Modified Antimicrobial Peptide (DP7) for Safe and Effective Systemic Administration in Animal Models of Bacterial Infection.
ABSTRACT: Owing to their broad-spectrum antibacterial properties, multitarget effects, and low drug resistance, antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) have played critical roles in the clinical therapy of drug-resistant bacterial infections. However, the potential hazard of hemolysis following systemic administration has greatly limited their application. Here, we developed a novel AMP derivative, DP7-C, by modifying a formerly identified highly active AMP (DP7) with cholesterol to form an amphiphilic conjugate. The prepared DP7-C easily self-assembled into stable nanomicelles in aqueous solution. The DP7-C micelles showed lower hemolytic activity than their unconjugated counterparts toward human red blood cells and a maximum tolerated dose of 80 mg/kg of body weight in mice via intravenous injection, thus demonstrating improved safety. Moreover, by eliciting specific immunomodulatory activities in immune cells, the DP7-C micelles exerted distinct therapeutic effects in zebrafish and mouse models of infection. In conclusion, DP7-C micelles may be an excellent candidate for the treatment of bacterial infections in the clinic.
Project description:To design and discover new antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) with high levels of antimicrobial activity, a number of machine-learning methods and prediction methods have been developed. Here, we present a new prediction method that can identify novel AMPs that are highly similar in sequence to known peptides but offer improved antimicrobial activity along with lower host cytotoxicity. Using previously generated AMP amino acid substitution data, we developed an amino acid activity contribution matrix that contained an activity contribution value for each amino acid in each position of the model peptide. A series of AMPs were designed with this method. After evaluating the antimicrobial activities of these novel AMPs against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacterial strains, DP7 was chosen for further analysis. Compared to the parent peptide HH2, this novel AMP showed broad-spectrum, improved antimicrobial activity, and in a cytotoxicity assay it showed lower toxicity against human cells. The in vivo antimicrobial activity of DP7 was tested in a Staphylococcus aureus infection murine model. When inoculated and treated via intraperitoneal injection, DP7 reduced the bacterial load in the peritoneal lavage solution. Electron microscope imaging and the results indicated disruption of the S. aureus outer membrane by DP7. Our new prediction method can therefore be employed to identify AMPs possessing minor amino acid differences with improved antimicrobial activities, potentially increasing the therapeutic agents available to combat multidrug-resistant infections.
Project description:Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) provide a promising strategy against infections involving multidrug-resistant pathogens. In previous studies, we designed a short 12 amino acid AMP DP7, using a machine-learning method based on an amino acid activity contribution matrix. DP7 shows broad-spectrum antimicrobial activities both in vitro and in vivo. Here, we aim to investigate the efficacy of DP7 against multidrug resistant Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) and reveal the potential mechanisms. First, by measuring the killing kinetics of DP7 against S. aureus and comparing these results with antibiotics with different antimicrobial mechanisms, we hypothesize that DP7, in addition to its known ability to induce cell wall cation damage, can also exert a full killing effect. With FITC-conjugated or biotin-labeled DP7, we tracked DP7's attachment, membrane permeation and subsequent intracellular distribution in S. aureus. These results indicated that the possible targets of DP7 were within the bacterial cells. Transcriptome sequencing of S. aureus exposed to DP7 identified 333 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) influenced by DP7, involving nucleic acid metabolism, amino acid biosynthesis, cell wall destruction and pathogenesis, respectively, indicating the comprehensive killing efficacy of DP7. In addition, the genome sequencing results of the induced DP7 resistant strain S. aureus DP7-R revealed two-point mutations in the mprF and guaA gene. Moreover, in a murine model for MRSA blood stream infection, intravenously treating mice with DP7 showed a good protective effect on mice. In conclusion, DP7 is an effective bactericide for S. aureus, which deserves further study for clinical application and drug development.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) play important roles in the innate defense mechanism. The broad spectrum of activity of AMPs requires an efficient permeabilization of the bacterial outer and inner membranes. The outer leaflet of the outer membrane of Gram negative bacteria is made of a specialized lipid called lipopolysaccharide (LPS). The LPS layer is an efficient permeability barrier against anti-bacterial agents including AMPs. As a mode of protection, LPS can induce self associations of AMPs rendering them inactive. Temporins are a group of short-sized AMPs isolated from frog skin, and many of them are inactive against Gram negative bacteria as a result of their self-association in the LPS-outer membrane. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Using NMR spectroscopy, we have determined atomic resolution structure and characterized localization of temporin-1Ta or TA (FLPLIGRVLSGIL-amide) in LPS micelles. In LPS micelles, TA adopts helical conformation for residues L4-I12, while residues F1-L3 are found to be in extended conformations. The aromatic sidechain of residue F1 is involved in extensive packing interactions with the sidechains of residues P3, L4 and I5. Interestingly, a number of long-range NOE contacts have been detected between the N-terminal residues F1, P3 with the C-terminal residues S10, I12, L13 of TA in LPS micelles. Saturation transfer difference (STD) NMR studies demonstrate close proximity of residues including F1, L2, P3, R7, S10 and L13 with the LPS micelles. Notably, the LPS bound structure of TA shows differences with the structures of TA determined in DPC and SDS detergent micelles. SIGNIFICANCE: We propose that TA, in LPS lipids, forms helical oligomeric structures employing N- and C-termini residues. Such oligomeric structures may not be translocated across the outer membrane; resulting in the inactivation of the AMP. Importantly, the results of our studies will be useful for the development of antimicrobial agents with a broader spectrum of activity.
Project description:Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) show promise for the treatment of bacterial infections, but many have undesired hemolytic activities. The AMP MP1 not only has broad spectrum bactericidal activity, but has been shown to have antitumor activity. The interaction between AMPs and cellular membranes gives rise to a peptide's cell-specificity and activity. However, direct analysis of the biophysical interactions between peptides and membrane is complex, in part due to the nature of membrane environments as well as structural changes in the peptide that occurs upon binding to the membrane. In order to investigate the interplay between cell selectivity, activity, and secondary structural changes involved in antimicrobial peptide activity, we sought to implement photolizable membrane mimics to assess the types of information available from infrared spectroscopic measurements that follow from photoinitiated peptide dynamics. Azo-surfactants (APEG) form micelles containing a photolizable azobenzene core, which upon irradiation can induce membrane deformation resulting in breakdown of micelles. Spectroscopic analysis of membrane deformation may provide insights into the physical behavior associated with unfolding and dissociation of antimicrobial peptides within a membrane environment. Herein, we synthesized and characterized two new azo-surfactants, APEG<sub>TMG</sub> and APEG<sub>NEt<sub>2</sub>MeI</sub>. Furthermore, we demonstrate the viability of azosurfactants as membrane mimics by examining both the membrane binding and dissociation induced secondary structural changes of the antimicrobial peptide, MP1.
Project description:We present relative binding free energy calculations for six antimicrobial peptide-micelle systems, three peptides interacting with two types of micelles. The peptides are the scorpion derived antimicrobial peptide (AMP), IsCT and two of its analogues. The micelles are dodecylphosphatidylcholine (DPC) and sodium dodecylsulphate (SDS) micelles. The interfacial electrostatic properties of DPC and SDS micelles are assumed to be similar to those of zwitterionic mammalian and anionic bacterial membrane interfaces, respectively. We test the hypothesis that the binding strength between peptides and the anionic micelle SDS can provide information on peptide antimicrobial activity, since it is widely accepted that AMPs function by binding to and disrupting the predominantly anionic lipid bilayer of the bacterial cytoplasmic membrane. We also test the hypothesis that the binding strength between peptides and the zwitterionic micelle DPC can provide information on peptide haemolytic activities, since it is accepted that they also bind to and disrupt the zwitterionic membrane of mammalian cells. Equilibrium structures of the peptides, micelles and peptide-micelle complexes are obtained from more than 300 ns of molecular dynamics simulations. A thermodynamic cycle is introduced to compute the binding free energy from electrostatic, non-electrostatic and entropic contributions. We find relative binding free energy strengths between peptides and SDS to correlate with the experimentally measured rankings for peptide antimicrobial activities, and relative free energy binding strengths between peptides and DPC to correlate with the observed rankings for peptide haemolytic toxicities. These findings point to the importance of peptide-membrane binding strength for antimicrobial activity and haemolytic activity.
Project description:Sinorhizobium meliloti differentiates into persisting, nitrogen-fixing bacteroids within root nodules of the legume Medicago truncatula. Nodule-specific cysteine-rich antimicrobial peptides (NCR AMPs) and the bacterial BacA protein are essential for bacteroid development. However, the bacterial factors central to the NCR AMP response and the in planta role of BacA are unknown. We investigated the hypothesis that BacA is critical for the bacterial response towards NCR AMPs. We found that BacA was not essential for NCR AMPs to induce features of S. meliloti bacteroids in vitro. Instead, BacA was critical to reduce the amount of NCR AMP-induced membrane permeabilization and bacterial killing in vitro. Within M. truncatula, both wild-type and BacA-deficient mutant bacteria were challenged with NCR AMPs, but this resulted in persistence of the wild-type bacteria and rapid cell death of the mutant bacteria. In contrast, BacA was dispensable for bacterial survival in an M. truncatula dnf1 mutant defective in NCR AMP transport to the bacterial compartment. Therefore, BacA is critical for the legume symbiosis by protecting S. meliloti against the bactericidal effects of NCR AMPs. Host AMPs are ubiquitous in nature and BacA proteins are essential for other chronic host infections by symbiotic and pathogenic bacteria. Hence, our findings suggest that BacA-mediated protection of bacteria against host AMPs is a critical stage in the establishment of different prolonged host infections.
Project description:The potency and selectivity of many antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are correlated with their ability to interact with and disrupt the bacterial cell membrane. In vitro experiments using model membranes have been used to determine the mechanism of membrane disruption of AMPs. Because the mechanism of action of an AMP depends on the ability of the model membrane to accurately mimic the cell membrane, it is important to understand the effect of membrane composition. Anionic lipids that are present in the outer membrane of prokaryotes but are less common in eukaryotic membranes are usually thought to be key for the bacterial selectivity of AMPs. We show by fluorescence measurements of peptide-induced membrane permeabilization that the presence of anionic lipids at high concentrations can actually inhibit membrane disruption by the AMP MSI-78 (pexiganan), a representative of a large class of highly cationic AMPs. Paramagnetic quenching studies suggest MSI-78 is in a surface-associated inactive mode in anionic sodium dodecyl sulfate micelles but is in a deeply buried and presumably more active mode in zwitterionic dodecylphosphocholine micelles. Furthermore, a switch in mechanism occurs with lipid composition. Membrane fragmentation with MSI-78 can be observed in mixed vesicles containing both anionic and zwitterionic lipids but not in vesicles composed of a single lipid of either type. These findings suggest membrane affinity and membrane permeabilization are not always correlated, and additional effects that may be more reflective of the actual cellular environment can be seen as the complexity of the model membranes is increased.
Project description:A large number of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) acts with high selectivity and specificity through interactions with membrane lipid components. These peptides undergo complex conformational changes in solution; upon binding to an interface, one major conformation is stabilized. Here we describe a study of the interaction between tritrpticin (TRP3), a cathelicidin AMP, and micelles of different chemical composition. The peptide's structure and dynamics were examined using one-dimensional and two-dimensional NMR. Our data showed that the interaction occurred by conformational selection and the peptide acquired similar structures in all systems studied, despite differences in detergent headgroup charge or dipole orientation. Fluorescence and paramagnetic relaxation enhancement experiments showed that the peptide is located in the interface region and is slightly more deeply inserted in 1-myristoyl-2-hydroxy-sn-glycero-3-phospho-1'-rac-glycerol (LMPG, anionic) than in 1-lauroyl-2-hydroxy-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (LLPC, zwitterionic) micelles. Moreover, the tilt angle of an assumed helical portion of the peptide is similar in both systems. In previous work we proposed that TRP3 acts by a toroidal pore mechanism. In view of the high hydrophobic core exposure, hydration, and curvature presented by micelles, the conformation of TRP3 in these systems could be related to the peptide's conformation in the toroidal pore.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:Bacterial biofilm-dependent infections (e.g. cystic fibrosis, surgical sites, and medical implants) are associated with enhanced drug-resistance and are thus difficult to eradicate. The goal of this study was to systematically compare three distinct classes of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) that include the clinically used antibiotic colistin, the natural AMP LL37, the engineered cationic-AMP WLBU2, and four commonly used antibiotics with different bactericidal mechanisms (tobramycin, ciprofloxacin, ceftazidime, and vancomycin) for biofilm prevention properties. METHODS:Using biofilm-prevention assays, we detected bacterial biomass post-attachment in subinhibitory concentrations (1/3 of the minimum inhibitory concentration [MIC]) for each AMP by the crystal violet method, to distinguish the commonly known bactericidal activity from potentially distinct mechanisms of biofilm prevention. Biofilm regulatory gene expression was assessed using RT-qPCR for correlation with biofilm growth inhibition. RESULTS:Commonly used antibiotics at 1x MIC showed modest ESKAPE biofilm prevention while 1/3 MIC of AMPs demonstrated up to 90% biofilm prevention. WLBU2 was generally more effective in preventing bacterial attachment than colistin and LL37. Changes in bacterial biofilm regulatory gene expression were consistent with biofilm prevention. CONCLUSION:The data warrant further exploration of AMPs with optimized structures to fill a knowledge gap on the potential application of AMPs for difficult-to-cure bacterial biofilm-related infections.
Project description:Host defense cationic Antimicrobial Peptides (AMPs) can kill microorganisms including bacteria, viruses and fungi using various modes of action. The negatively charged bacterial membranes serve as a key target for many AMPs. Bacterial cell death by membrane permeabilization has been well perceived. A number of cationic AMPs kill bacteria by cell agglutination which is a distinctly different mode of action compared to membrane pore formation. However, mechanism of cell agglutinating AMPs is poorly understood. The outer membrane lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or the cell-wall peptidoglycans are targeted by AMPs as a key step in agglutination process. Here, we report the first atomic-resolution structure of thanatin, a cell agglutinating AMP, in complex with LPS micelle by solution NMR. The structure of thanatin in complex with LPS, revealed four stranded antiparallel ?-sheet in a 'head-tail' dimeric topology. By contrast, thanatin in free solution assumed an antiparallel ?-hairpin conformation. Dimeric structure of thanatin displayed higher hydrophobicity and cationicity with sites of LPS interactions. MD simulations and biophysical interactions analyses provided mode of LPS recognition and perturbation of LPS micelle structures. Mechanistic insights of bacterial cell agglutination obtained in this study can be utilized to develop antibiotics of alternative mode of action.