Main content area

Conjugation of Aurein 2.2 to HPG Yields an Antimicrobial with Better Properties

Kumar, Prashant, Shenoi, Rajesh A., Lai, Benjamin F. L., Nguyen, Michael, Kizhakkedathu, Jayachandran N., Straus, Suzana K.
Biomacromolecules 2015 v.16 no.3 pp. 913-923
Gram-positive bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, antimicrobial peptides, antimicrobial properties, biocompatibility, blood coagulation, cell membranes, chemical bonding, circular dichroism spectroscopy, complement, cytotoxicity, drugs, hydrodynamics, immune response, mechanism of action, minimum inhibitory concentration, models, molecular weight, platelet activation, polyethylene glycol, viscosity
Aurein 2.2 is an antimicrobial peptide (AMP) whose mechanism of action is quite well-understood and that has good activity against Gram-positive bacteria. It is, however, highly cytotoxic. Poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) conjugation (PEGylation) of protein and peptide drugs has been used for decades to improve their in vivo efficacy and blood circulation by enhancing the biocompatibility of the protein or peptide in question. However, the relatively large hydrodynamic size, high intrinsic viscosity, the limited number of functional groups available for conjugation, and immunogenicity of high molecular weight PEG limits its use in bioconjugation applications. Recently, hyperbranched polyglycerol (HPG) has been gaining attention as an alternative to PEG due to its excellent biocompatibility. Here, for the first time, we report the synthesis of HPG conjugates of antimicrobial peptides. Aurein 2.2 peptide was conjugated to high molecular weight HPG with a varying number of peptides per polymer, and the biocompatibility and antimicrobial activity of the conjugates were investigated. The antimicrobial activity of the peptide and its conjugates were determined by measuring the minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) against Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis. The interaction of aurein 2.2 peptide and the conjugates with a model bacterial biomembrane was investigated using CD spectroscopy to understand the mode of action of the conjugates. The biocompatibility of the AMP–polymer conjugates was investigated by measuring red cell lysis, platelet activation and aggregation, complement activation, blood coagulation, and cell toxicity. Our results show that the size of the conjugates and the peptide density influence the biocompatibility of the antimicrobial conjugates. These results will help to further define the properties of HPG–AMP conjugates and set the stage for development of better therapeutic agents.