Advances in antimicrobial activities of molecule-containing, multiple guanidinium groups against antibiotics-resistant bacteria should be noted. The synthesized polyoctamethylene monoguanidine hydrochloride (POGH), carrying cationic amphiphilic moieties, display excellent activity against multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa
(MDR-PA) and other antibiotics-resistant bacteria. The membrane damage effects of POGH on MDR-PA were clarified using beta-lactamase activity assay, confocal fluorescence microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and transmission electron microscopy. The results showed that POGH disrupted both the outer and inner membranes and the intracellular structure of MDR-PA to different extents depending on the dose. All concentrations of POGH within 3–23 μg/mL increased the outer membrane permeability, which facilitated the release of beta-lactamase across the inner membrane. A median dose (10 μg/mL) of POGH led to the separation of the inner and outer membrane, an increase in the membrane gap, and outer membrane structure damage with still maintained overall cytoskeletal structures. The application of a 30 μg/mL dose of POGH led to the collapse of the outer membrane, cellular wrinkling, and shrinkage, and the formation of local membrane holes. The disruption of the outer and inner membranes and the formation of the local membrane holes by a relative high dose were probably the main bactericidal mechanism of POGH. The microscopic evidence explained the strong outer-membrane permeation ability of guanidine-based antimicrobial polymers, which could be considered for the molecular design of novel guanidine-based polymers, as well as the damaged membrane structure and intracellular structure of MDR-PA.
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