Truncated Autoinducing Peptide Conjugates Selectively Recognize and Kill Staphylococcus aureus

Authors: Tsuchikama, Kyoji; Shimamoto, Yasuhiro; Anami, Yasuaki; ACS Infectious Diseases; (2017); 10.1021/acsinfecdis.7b00013

The accessory gene regulator (agr) of Staphylococcus aureus coordinates various pathogenic events and is recognized as a promising therapeutic target for virulence control. S. aureus utilizes autoinducing peptides (AIPs), cyclic-peptide signaling molecules, to mediate the agr system. Despite the high potency of synthetic AIP analogues in agr inhibition, the potential of AIP molecules as a delivery vehicle for antibacterial agents remains unexplored. Herein, we report that truncated AIP scaffolds can be fused with fluorophore and cytotoxic photosensitizer molecules without compromising their high agr inhibitory activity, binding affinity to the receptor AgrC, or cell specificity. Strikingly, a photosensitizer-AIP conjugate exhibited 16-fold greater efficacy in a S. aureus cell-killing assay than a nontargeting analogue. These findings highlight the potential of truncated AIP conjugates as useful chemical tools for in-depth biological studies and as effective anti-S. aureus agents.