Send to

Choose Destination
ChemMedChem. 2019 Aug 20;14(16):1547-1559. doi: 10.1002/cmdc.201900364. Epub 2019 Jul 30.

Phenol-Soluble-Modulin-Inspired Amphipathic Peptides Have Bactericidal Activity against Multidrug-Resistant Bacteria.

Author information

State Key Laboratory of Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery and Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR, China.
Shenzhen Key Laboratory for Food Biological Safety Control, Food Safety and Technology Research Centre, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Shenzhen Research Institute, Shenzhen, China.


Phenol-soluble modulins (PSMs) are a large family of cytolytic peptide toxins produced by Staphylococcus aureus. Based on their amino acid sequences, we have constructed a small library of cationic isoleucine-rich peptides for antimicrobial evaluation. Relative to the parent PSMs, peptide zp3 (GIIAGIIIKIKK-NH2 ) was found to possess greatly improved physicochemical properties (soluble in water) and antibacterial activity (MIC=8 μm for E. coli, B. subtilis, and C. freundii) while maintaining low hemolytic activity (<5 % at 256 μm) and cytotoxicity (HEK293 cells IC50 >80 μm). We reasoned that the selective activity of zp3 toward bacterial cells is due to its amphiphilic nature and positive net charge. Moreover, it is difficult for bacteria to develop resistance against zp3. Through microscopic studies of E. coli, we demonstrated that zp3 can penetrate the bacterial membrane, thereby causing leakage of the bacterial cytoplasm. Our findings present a promising antimicrobial peptide lead, which has great potential for further chemical modification.


antibiotic-resistant bacteria; antimicrobial peptides; hemolytic activity; phenol-soluble modulins; selective disruption


Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center