Chem Biol Drug Des. 2021 Mar 22. doi: 10.1111/cbdd.13840. Online ahead of print.
Staphylococcus aureus is the main etiological agent responsible for the majority of human skin infections. Of particular concern is the methicillin-resistant variety, commonly known as MRSA. The extensive use of the first-line topical antibiotic of choice, mupirocin, has inevitably resulted in the emergence of resistant strains, signalling an urgent need for the development of new antibacterials with new mechanisms of action. In this work, we describe how we designed a novel cationic nonapeptide, containing only leucine and two lysine residues, with potent anti-MRSA activity and a rapid bactericidal mode of action. Coupled to a favourable safety profile towards human skin fibroblasts, we believe nonapeptide 11 has high potential for further development as a mupirocin replacement candidate to treat skin infections caused by MRSA.