Selective killing of with pH-responsive helix-coil conformation transitionable antimicrobial polypeptides.

Xiong M, Bao Y, Xu X, Wang H, Han Z, Wang Z, Liu Y, Huang S, Song Z, Chen J, Peek RM, Yin L, Chen LF, Cheng J
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 114 (48): 12675-12680

PMID: 29133389 · PMCID: PMC5715757 · DOI:10.1073/pnas.1710408114

Current clinical treatment of infection, the main etiological factor in the development of gastritis, gastric ulcers, and gastric carcinoma, requires a combination of at least two antibiotics and one proton pump inhibitor. However, such triple therapy suffers from progressively decreased therapeutic efficacy due to the drug resistance and undesired killing of the commensal bacteria due to poor selectivity. Here, we report the development of antimicrobial polypeptide-based monotherapy, which can specifically kill under acidic pH in the stomach while inducing minimal toxicity to commensal bacteria under physiological pH. Specifically, we designed a class of pH-sensitive, helix-coil conformation transitionable antimicrobial polypeptides (HCT-AMPs) (PGA)--(PHLG-MHH), bearing randomly distributed negatively charged glutamic acid and positively charged poly(γ-6--(methyldihexylammonium)hexyl-l-glutamate) (PHLG-MHH) residues. The HCT-AMPs showed unappreciable toxicity at physiological pH when they adopted random coiled conformation. Under acidic condition in the stomach, they transformed to the helical structure and exhibited potent antibacterial activity against , including clinically isolated drug-resistant strains. After oral gavage, the HCT-AMPs afforded comparable killing efficacy to the triple-therapy approach while inducing minimal toxicity against normal tissues and commensal bacteria, in comparison with the remarkable killing of commensal bacteria by 65% and 86% in the ileal contents and feces, respectively, following triple therapy. This strategy renders an effective approach to specifically target and kill in the stomach while not harming the commensal bacteria/normal tissues.

MeSH Terms (17)

Amines Animals Anti-Bacterial Agents Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides Disease Models, Animal Female Glutamic Acid Helicobacter Infections Helicobacter pylori Hydrogen-Ion Concentration Mice Mice, Inbred C57BL Mice, Inbred ICR Organ Specificity Protein Conformation, alpha-Helical Static Electricity Stomach

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