To meet the challenge of antibiotic resistance worldwide, a new generation of antimicrobials must be developed.(1) This communication demonstrates ab initio design of potent peptides against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Our idea is that the peptide is very likely to be active when the most probable parameters are utilized in each step of the design. We derived the most probable parameters (e.g., amino acid composition, peptide hydrophobic content, and net charge) from the antimicrobial peptide database(2) by developing a database filtering technology (DFT). Different from classic cationic antimicrobial peptides usually with high cationicity, DFTamP1, the first anti-MRSA peptide designed using this technology, is a short peptide with high hydrophobicity but low cationicity. Such a molecular design made the peptide highly potent. Indeed, the peptide caused bacterial surface damage and killed community-associated MRSA USA300 in 60 min. Structural determination of DFTamP1 by NMR spectroscopy revealed a broad hydrophobic surface, providing a basis for its potency against MRSA known to deploy positively charged moieties on the surface as a mechanism for resistance. Our ab initio design combined with database screening(3) led to yet another peptide with enhanced potency. Because of the simple composition, short length, stability to proteases, and membrane targeting, the designed peptides are attractive leads for developing novel anti-MRSA therapeutics. Our database-derived design concept can be applied to the design of peptide mimicries to combat MRSA as well.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry