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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Feb 26;105(8):2794-9. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0708254105. Epub 2008 Feb 19.

Peptoids that mimic the structure, function, and mechanism of helical antimicrobial peptides.

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Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Northwestern University, 2145 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208, USA.


Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) and their mimics are emerging as promising antibiotic agents. We present a library of "ampetoids" (antimicrobial peptoid oligomers) with helical structures and biomimetic sequences, several members of which have low-micromolar antimicrobial activities, similar to cationic AMPs like pexiganan. Broad-spectrum activity against six clinically relevant BSL2 pathogens is also shown. This comprehensive structure-activity relationship study, including circular dichroism spectroscopy, minimum inhibitory concentration assays, hemolysis and mammalian cell toxicity studies, and specular x-ray reflectivity measurements shows that the in vitro activities of ampetoids are strikingly similar to those of AMPs themselves, suggesting a strong mechanistic analogy. The ampetoids' antibacterial activity, coupled with their low cytotoxicity against mammalian cells, make them a promising class of antimicrobials for biomedical applications. Peptoids are biostable, with a protease-resistant N-substituted glycine backbone, and their sequences are highly tunable, because an extensive diversity of side chains can be incorporated via facile solid-phase synthesis. Our findings add to the growing evidence that nonnatural foldamers will emerge as an important class of therapeutics.

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