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PLoS One. 2016 Feb 5;11(2):e0135961. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0135961. eCollection 2016.

In Vivo, In Vitro, and In Silico Characterization of Peptoids as Antimicrobial Agents.

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Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Northwestern University, 2145 Sheridan Road, E136, Evanston, IL, 60208, United States of America.
Centre for Microbial Diseases and Immunity Research, #232-2259 Lower Mall Research Station, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada.
Dept. of Science, Systems & Models, Roskilde University, Universitetsvej 1, DK-4000, Roskilde, Denmark.


Bacterial resistance to conventional antibiotics is a global threat that has spurred the development of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) and their mimetics as novel anti-infective agents. While the bioavailability of AMPs is often reduced due to protease activity, the non-natural structure of AMP mimetics renders them robust to proteolytic degradation, thus offering a distinct advantage for their clinical application. We explore the therapeutic potential of N-substituted glycines, or peptoids, as AMP mimics using a multi-faceted approach that includes in silico, in vitro, and in vivo techniques. We report a new QSAR model that we developed based on 27 diverse peptoid sequences, which accurately correlates antimicrobial peptoid structure with antimicrobial activity. We have identified a number of peptoids that have potent, broad-spectrum in vitro activity against multi-drug resistant bacterial strains. Lastly, using a murine model of invasive S. aureus infection, we demonstrate that one of the best candidate peptoids at 4 mg/kg significantly reduces with a two-log order the bacterial counts compared with saline-treated controls. Taken together, our results demonstrate the promising therapeutic potential of peptoids as antimicrobial agents.

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