Special Issue "Synthesis and Utility of Antimicrobial Peptides"

A special issue of Antibiotics (ISSN 2079-6382). This special issue belongs to the section "Antimicrobial Peptides".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2020) | Viewed by 21828

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Gregory Wiedman
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ 07079, USA
Interests: SPPS; Antifungals; Antibiotics; Bilayers; Cell-Based Assay; Antimicrobial Resistance; Toxins; Peptides; Biochemistry; Biophysics; Biomaterials

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

With the rise in antimicrobial resistance, much has been made about the utility of Antimicrobial Peptides for treating infectious diseases. Peptides from both synthetic and natural sources have been touted as broad-spectrum antimicrobials.  We, as investigators in the field of antimicrobial peptides, need to take charge of the narrative around our research.  This issue of [Antibiotics] seeks to highlight the aspects of antimicrobial peptide research that are underappreciated: synergy with other antimicrobials, sustainable production of peptides, and development of resistance to peptides.  Papers touching on any of these areas are enchouraged to submit for this special issue.  Other topics related to antimicrobial peptides will also be considered.  Now is the time for antimicrobial peptides to be spotlighted as anti-infective reagents; please join us in bringing to light these important molecules.    

Prof. Dr. Gregory Wiedman
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Antimicrobials
  • Antimicrobial Resistnace
  • Peptides, Peptaibols
  • Synergy
  • Minimum Inhibitory Concnetration
  • Broad-Spectrum Antimicrobials

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Article
Fragments of a Wheat Hevein-Like Antimicrobial Peptide Augment the Inhibitory Effect of a Triazole Fungicide on Spore Germination of Fusarium oxysporum and Alternaria solani
Antibiotics 2020, 9(12), 870; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics9120870 - 04 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 845
Abstract
There are increasing environmental risks associated with extensive use of fungicides for crop protection. Hence, the use of new approaches using natural plant defense mechanisms, including application of plant antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), is of great interest. Recently, we studied the structural–function relationships between [...] Read more.
There are increasing environmental risks associated with extensive use of fungicides for crop protection. Hence, the use of new approaches using natural plant defense mechanisms, including application of plant antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), is of great interest. Recently, we studied the structural–function relationships between antifungal activity and five hevein-like AMPs from the WAMP (wheat AMP) family of Triticum kiharae Dorof. et Migush. We first discovered that short peptides derived from the central, N-, and C-terminal regions of one of the WAMPs (WAMP-2) were able to augment the inhibitory effect of Folicur® EC 250, a triazole fungicide, on spore germination of the wheat pathogenic fungi, including Fusarium spp. and Alternaria alternata. In this research, we explored the ability of chemically synthesized WAMP-2-derived peptides for enhancing the sensitivity of two other Fusarium and Alternaria species, F. oxysporum and A. solani, causing wilt and early blight of tomato, respectively, to Folicur®. The synthesized WAMP-2-derived peptides synergistically interacted with the fungicide and significantly increased its efficacy, inhibiting conidial germination at much lower Folicur® concentrations than required for the same efficiency using the fungicide alone. The experiments on co-applications of some of WAMP-2-fragments and the fungicide on tomato leaves and seedlings, which confirmed the results obtained in vitro, are described. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Synthesis and Utility of Antimicrobial Peptides)
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Article
Putative Antimicrobial Peptides of the Posterior Salivary Glands from the Cephalopod Octopus vulgaris Revealed by Exploring a Composite Protein Database
Antibiotics 2020, 9(11), 757; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics9110757 - 30 Oct 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1565
Abstract
Cephalopods, successful predators, can use a mixture of substances to subdue their prey, becoming interesting sources of bioactive compounds. In addition to neurotoxins and enzymes, the presence of antimicrobial compounds has been reported. Recently, the transcriptome and the whole proteome of the Octopus [...] Read more.
Cephalopods, successful predators, can use a mixture of substances to subdue their prey, becoming interesting sources of bioactive compounds. In addition to neurotoxins and enzymes, the presence of antimicrobial compounds has been reported. Recently, the transcriptome and the whole proteome of the Octopus vulgaris salivary apparatus were released, but the role of some compounds—e.g., histones, antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), and toxins—remains unclear. Herein, we profiled the proteome of the posterior salivary glands (PSGs) of O. vulgaris using two sample preparation protocols combined with a shotgun-proteomics approach. Protein identification was performed against a composite database comprising data from the UniProtKB, all transcriptomes available from the cephalopods’ PSGs, and a comprehensive non-redundant AMPs database. Out of the 10,075 proteins clustered in 1868 protein groups, 90 clusters corresponded to venom protein toxin families. Additionally, we detected putative AMPs clustered with histones previously found as abundant proteins in the saliva of O. vulgaris. Some of these histones, such as H2A and H2B, are involved in systemic inflammatory responses and their antimicrobial effects have been demonstrated. These results not only confirm the production of enzymes and toxins by the O. vulgaris PSGs but also suggest their involvement in the first line of defense against microbes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Synthesis and Utility of Antimicrobial Peptides)
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Article
Identification of New Antimicrobial Peptides from Mediterranean Medical Plant Charybdis pancration (Steinh.) Speta
Antibiotics 2020, 9(11), 747; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics9110747 - 28 Oct 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1126
Abstract
The present work was designed to identify and characterize novel antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) from Charybdis pancration (Steinh.) Speta, previously named Urginea maritima, is a Mediterranean plant, well-known for its biological properties in traditional medicine. Polypeptide-enriched extracts from different parts of the plant [...] Read more.
The present work was designed to identify and characterize novel antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) from Charybdis pancration (Steinh.) Speta, previously named Urginea maritima, is a Mediterranean plant, well-known for its biological properties in traditional medicine. Polypeptide-enriched extracts from different parts of the plant (roots, leaves and bulb), never studied before, were tested against two relevant pathogens, Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. With the aim of identifying novel natural AMPs, peptide fraction displaying antimicrobial activity (the bulb) that showed minimum inhibitory concentration (MICs) equal to 30 µg/mL against the above mentioned strains, was analysed by high-resolution mass spectrometry and database search. Seventeen peptides, related to seven proteins present in the investigated database, were described. Furthermore, we focused on three peptides, which due to their net positive charge, have a better chance to be AMPs and they were investigated by molecular modelling approaches, in order to shed light on the solution properties of their equilibrium structures. Some of new detected peptides could represent a good platform for the development of new antimicrobials in the fight against antibiotic resistance phenomenon. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Synthesis and Utility of Antimicrobial Peptides)
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Article
Broad-Spectrum Antimicrobial Activity and Improved Stability of a D-Amino Acid Enantiomer of DMPC-10A, the Designed Derivative of Dermaseptin Truncates
Antibiotics 2020, 9(9), 627; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics9090627 - 21 Sep 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1275
Abstract
DMPC-10A (ALWKKLLKK-Cha-NH2) is a 10-mer peptide derivative from the N-terminal domain of Dermaseptin-PC which has shown broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity as well as a considerable hemolytic effect. In order to reduce hemolytic activity and improve stability to endogenous enzymes, a D-amino acid [...] Read more.
DMPC-10A (ALWKKLLKK-Cha-NH2) is a 10-mer peptide derivative from the N-terminal domain of Dermaseptin-PC which has shown broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity as well as a considerable hemolytic effect. In order to reduce hemolytic activity and improve stability to endogenous enzymes, a D-amino acid enantiomer (DMPC-10B) was designed by substituting all L-Lys and L-Leu with their respective D-form amino acid residues, while the Ala1 and Trp3 remained unchanged. The D-amino acid enantiomer exhibited similar antimicrobial potency to the parent peptide but exerted lower cytotoxicity and hemolytic activity. Meanwhile, DMPC-10B exhibited remarkable resistance to hydrolysis by trypsin and chymotrypsin. In addition to these advantages, DMPC-10B exhibited an outstanding antibacterial effect against Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Klebsiella pneumoniae using the Galleria mellonella larva model and displayed synergistic activities with gentamicin against carbapenem-resistant K. pneumoniae strains. This indicates that DMPC-10B would be a promising alternative for treating antibiotic-resistant pathogens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Synthesis and Utility of Antimicrobial Peptides)
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Article
Analogues of a Cyclic Antimicrobial Peptide with a Flexible Linker Show Promising Activity against Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus
Antibiotics 2020, 9(7), 366; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics9070366 - 30 Jun 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1716
Abstract
The emergence of multi-drug resistant bacteria is becoming a major health concern. New strategies to combat especially Gram-negative pathogens are urgently needed. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) found in all multicellular organisms act as a first line of defense in immunity. In recent years, AMPs [...] Read more.
The emergence of multi-drug resistant bacteria is becoming a major health concern. New strategies to combat especially Gram-negative pathogens are urgently needed. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) found in all multicellular organisms act as a first line of defense in immunity. In recent years, AMPs have attracted increasing attention as potential antibiotics. Naturally occurring antimicrobial cyclic lipopeptides include colistin and daptomycin, both of which contain a flexible linker. We previously reported a cyclic AMP BSI-9 cyclo(Lys-Nal-Lys-Lys-Bip-O2Oc-Nal-Lys-Asn) containing a flexible linker, with a broad spectrum of activity against bacterial strains and low hemolytic activity. In this study, improvement of the antimicrobial activity of BSI-9, against the European Committee on Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing (EUCAST) strains of S. aureus, E. coli, A. baumannii, and P. aeruginosa was examined. This led to synthesis of eighteen peptide analogues of BSI-9, produced in four individual stages, with a different focus in each stage; cyclization point, hydrophobicity, cationic side-chain length, and combinations of the last two. Specifically the modified compound 11, exhibited improved activity against Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa with MIC of 4 µg/mL and 8 µg/mL, respectively, compared to the original BSI-9, which had an MIC of 16–32 µg/mL. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Synthesis and Utility of Antimicrobial Peptides)
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Review

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Review
Design, Screening, and Testing of Non-Rational Peptide Libraries with Antimicrobial Activity: In Silico and Experimental Approaches
Antibiotics 2020, 9(12), 854; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics9120854 - 30 Nov 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2619
Abstract
One of the challenges of modern biotechnology is to find new routes to mitigate the resistance to conventional antibiotics. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are an alternative type of biomolecules, naturally present in a wide variety of organisms, with the capacity to overcome the current [...] Read more.
One of the challenges of modern biotechnology is to find new routes to mitigate the resistance to conventional antibiotics. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are an alternative type of biomolecules, naturally present in a wide variety of organisms, with the capacity to overcome the current microorganism resistance threat. Here, we reviewed our recent efforts to develop a new library of non-rationally produced AMPs that relies on bacterial genome inherent diversity and compared it with rationally designed libraries. Our approach is based on a four-stage workflow process that incorporates the interplay of recent developments in four major emerging technologies: artificial intelligence, molecular dynamics, surface-display in microorganisms, and microfluidics. Implementing this framework is challenging because to obtain reliable results, the in silico algorithms to search for candidate AMPs need to overcome issues of the state-of-the-art approaches that limit the possibilities for multi-space data distribution analyses in extremely large databases. We expect to tackle this challenge by using a recently developed classification algorithm based on deep learning models that rely on convolutional layers and gated recurrent units. This will be complemented by carefully tailored molecular dynamics simulations to elucidate specific interactions with lipid bilayers. Candidate AMPs will be recombinantly-expressed on the surface of microorganisms for further screening via different droplet-based microfluidic-based strategies to identify AMPs with the desired lytic abilities. We believe that the proposed approach opens opportunities for searching and screening bioactive peptides for other applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Synthesis and Utility of Antimicrobial Peptides)
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Review
Synergies with and Resistance to Membrane-Active Peptides
Antibiotics 2020, 9(9), 620; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics9090620 - 19 Sep 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1493
Abstract
Membrane-active peptides (MAPs) have long been thought of as the key to defeating antimicrobial-resistant microorganisms. Such peptides, however, may not be sufficient alone. In this review, we seek to highlight some of the common pathways for resistance, as well as some avenues for [...] Read more.
Membrane-active peptides (MAPs) have long been thought of as the key to defeating antimicrobial-resistant microorganisms. Such peptides, however, may not be sufficient alone. In this review, we seek to highlight some of the common pathways for resistance, as well as some avenues for potential synergy. This discussion takes place considering resistance, and/or synergy in the extracellular space, at the membrane, and during interaction, and/or removal. Overall, this review shows that researchers require improved definitions of resistance and a more thorough understanding of MAP-resistance mechanisms. The solution to combating resistance may ultimately come from an understanding of how to harness the power of synergistic drug combinations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Synthesis and Utility of Antimicrobial Peptides)
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Review
Strategies for Optimizing the Production of Proteins and Peptides with Multiple Disulfide Bonds
Antibiotics 2020, 9(9), 541; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics9090541 - 26 Aug 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1854
Abstract
Bacteria can produce recombinant proteins quickly and cost effectively. However, their physiological properties limit their use for the production of proteins in their native form, especially polypeptides that are subjected to major post-translational modifications. Proteins that rely on disulfide bridges for their stability [...] Read more.
Bacteria can produce recombinant proteins quickly and cost effectively. However, their physiological properties limit their use for the production of proteins in their native form, especially polypeptides that are subjected to major post-translational modifications. Proteins that rely on disulfide bridges for their stability are difficult to produce in Escherichia coli. The bacterium offers the least costly, simplest, and fastest method for protein production. However, it is difficult to produce proteins with a very large size. Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Pichia pastoris are the most commonly used yeast species for protein production. At a low expense, yeasts can offer high protein yields, generate proteins with a molecular weight greater than 50 kDa, extract signal sequences, and glycosylate proteins. Both eukaryotic and prokaryotic species maintain reducing conditions in the cytoplasm. Hence, the formation of disulfide bonds is inhibited. These bonds are formed in eukaryotic cells during the export cycle, under the oxidizing conditions of the endoplasmic reticulum. Bacteria do not have an advanced subcellular space, but in the oxidizing periplasm, they exhibit both export systems and enzymatic activities directed at the formation and quality of disulfide bonds. Here, we discuss current techniques used to target eukaryotic and prokaryotic species for the generation of correctly folded proteins with disulfide bonds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Synthesis and Utility of Antimicrobial Peptides)
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Review
Development and Challenges of Antimicrobial Peptides for Therapeutic Applications
Antibiotics 2020, 9(1), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics9010024 - 13 Jan 2020
Cited by 157 | Viewed by 8869
Abstract
More than 3000 antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) have been discovered, seven of which have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Now commercialized, these seven peptides have mostly been utilized for topical medications, though some have been injected into the body [...] Read more.
More than 3000 antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) have been discovered, seven of which have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Now commercialized, these seven peptides have mostly been utilized for topical medications, though some have been injected into the body to treat severe bacterial infections. To understand the translational potential for AMPs, we analyzed FDA-approved drugs in the FDA drug database. We examined their physicochemical properties, secondary structures, and mechanisms of action, and compared them with the peptides in the AMP database. All FDA-approved AMPs were discovered in Gram-positive soil bacteria, and 98% of known AMPs also come from natural sources (skin secretions of frogs and toxins from different species). However, AMPs can have undesirable properties as drugs, including instability and toxicity. Thus, the design and construction of effective AMPs require an understanding of the mechanisms of known peptides and their effects on the human body. This review provides an overview to guide the development of AMPs that can potentially be used as antimicrobial drugs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Synthesis and Utility of Antimicrobial Peptides)
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