Nanoparticles of Short Cationic Peptidopolysaccharide Self-Assembled by Hydrogen Bonding with Antibacterial Effect against Multidrug-Resistant Bacteria

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Journal Article
ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, 2017, 9 (44), pp. 38288 - 38303
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© 2017 American Chemical Society. Cationic antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) and polymers are active against many multidrug-resistant (MDR) bacteria, but only a limited number of these compounds are in clinical use due to their unselective toxicity. The typical strategy for achieving selective antibacterial efficacy with low mammalian cell toxicity is through balancing the ratio of cationicity to hydrophobicity. Herein, we report a cationic nanoparticle self-assembled from chitosan-graft-oligolysine (CSM5-K5) chains with ultralow molecular weight (1450 Da) that selectively kills bacteria. Further, hydrogen bonding rather than the typical hydrophobic interaction causes the polymer chains to be aggregated together in water into small nanoparticles (with about 37 nm hydrodynamic radius) to concentrate the cationic charge of the lysine. When complexed with bacterial membrane, these cationic nanoparticles synergistically cluster anionic membrane lipids and produce a greater membrane perturbation and antibacterial effect than would be achievable by the same quantity of charge if dispersed in individual copolymer molecules in solution. The small zeta potential (+15 mV) and lack of hydrophobicity of the nanoparticles impedes the insertion of the copolymer into the cell bilayer to improve biocompatibility. In vivo study (using a murine excisional wound model) shows that CSM5-K5 suppresses the growth of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria by 4.0 orders of magnitude, an efficacy comparable to that of the last resort MRSA antibiotic vancomycin; it is also noninflammatory with little/no activation of neutrophils (CD11b and Ly6G immune cells). This study demonstrates a promising new class of cationic polymers - short cationic peptidopolysaccharides - that effectively attack MDR bacteria due to the synergistic clustering of, rather than insertion into, bacterial anionic lipids by the concentrated polymers in the resulting hydrogen-bonding-stabilized cationic nanoparticles.
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