American Chemical Society
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In-Membrane Nanostructuring of Cationic Amphiphiles Affects Their Antimicrobial Efficacy and Cytotoxicity: A Comparison Study between a De Novo Antimicrobial Lipopeptide and Traditional Biocides

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-05-19, 16:13 authored by Ke Fa, Huayang Liu, Haoning Gong, Lin Zhang, Mingrui Liao, Xuzhi Hu, Daniela Ciumac, Peixun Li, John Webster, Jordan Petkov, Robert K. Thomas, Jian Ren Lu
Cationic biocides have been widely used as active ingredients in personal care and healthcare products for infection control and wound treatment for a long time, but there are concerns over their cytotoxicity and antimicrobial resistance. Designed lipopeptides are potential candidates for alleviating these issues because of their mildness to mammalian host cells and their high efficacy against pathogenic microbial membranes. In this study, antimicrobial and cytotoxic properties of a de novo designed lipopeptide, CH3(CH2)12CO-Lys-Lys-Gly-Gly-Ile-Ile-NH2 (C14KKGGII), were assessed against that of two traditional cationic biocides CnTAB (n = 12 and 14), with different critical aggregation concentrations (CACs). C14KKGGII was shown to be more potent against both bacteria and fungi but milder to fibroblast host cells than the two biocides. Biophysical measurements mimicking the main features of microbial and host cell membranes were obtained for both lipid monolayer models using neutron reflection and small unilamellar vesicles (SUVs) using fluorescein leakage and zeta potential changes. The results revealed selective binding to anionic lipid membranes from the lipopeptide and in-membrane nanostructuring that is distinctly different from the co-assembly of the conventional CnTAB. Furthermore, CnTAB binding to the model membranes showed low selectivity, and its high cytotoxicity could be attributed to both membrane lysis and chemical toxicity. This work demonstrates the advantages of the lipopeptides and their potential for further development toward clinical application.