Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Phage Display of Dynamic Covalent Binding Motifs Enables Facile Development of Targeted Antibiotics

Kelly A. McCarthy, Michael A. Kelly, Kaicheng Li, Samantha Cambray, Azade S. Hosseini , Tim van Opijnen, and Jianmin Gao

J. Am. Chem. Soc.2018140 (19), 6137–6145 DOI: 10.1021/jacs.8b02461 

Antibiotic resistance of bacterial pathogens poses an increasing threat to the wellbeing of our society and urgently calls for new strategies for infection diagnosis and antibiotic discovery. The antibiotic resistance problem at least partially arises from extensive use of broad-spectrum antibiotics. Ideally, for the treatment of infection, one would like to use a narrow-spectrum antibiotic that specifically targets and kills the disease-causing strain. This is particularly important considering the commensal bacterial species that are beneficial and sometimes even critical to the health of a human being. In this contribution, we describe a phage display platform that enables rapid identification of peptide probes for specific bacterial strains. The phage library described herein incorporates 2-acetylphenylboronic acid moieties to elicit dynamic covalent binding to the bacterial cell surface. Screening of the library against live bacterial cells yields submicromolar and highly specific binders for clinical strains of Staphylococcus aureus and Acinetobacter baumannii that display antibiotic resistance. We further show that the identified peptide probes can be readily converted to bactericidal agents that deliver generic toxins to kill the targeted bacterial strain with high specificity. The phage display platform described here is applicable to a wide array of bacterial strains, paving the way to facile diagnosis and development of strain-specific antibiotics.

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