Amphipathic Peptide Antibiotics with Potent Activity against Multidrug-Resistant Pathogens

Pharmaceutics. 2021 Mar 24;13(4):438. doi: 10.3390/pharmaceutics13040438.


The emergence and prevalence of multidrug-resistant (MDR) bacteria have posed a serious threat to public health. Of particular concern are methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and blaNDM, mcr-1 and tet(X)-positive Gram-negative pathogens. The fact that few new antibiotics have been approved in recent years exacerbates this global crisis, thus, new alternatives are urgently needed. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) originated from host defense peptides with a wide range of sources and multiple functions, are less prone to achieve resistance. All these characteristics laid the foundation for AMPs to become potential antibiotic candidates. In this study, we revealed that peptide WW307 displayed potent antibacterial and bactericidal activity against MDR bacteria, including MRSA and Gram-negative bacteria carrying blaNDM-5, mcr-1 or tet(X4). In addition, WW307 exhibited great biofilm inhibition and eradication activity. Safety and stability experiments showed that WW307 had a strong resistance against various physiological conditions and displayed relatively low toxicity. Mechanistic experiments showed that WW307 resulted in membrane damage by selectively targeting bacterial membrane-specific components, including lipopolysaccharide (LPS), phosphatidylglycerol (PG), and cardiolipin (CL). Moreover, WW307 dissipated membrane potential and triggered the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Collectively, these results demonstrated that WW307 represents a promising candidate for combating MDR pathogens.

PMID:33804947 | DOI:10.3390/pharmaceutics13040438