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      Towards Sequence-Controlled Antimicrobial Polymers: Effect of Polymer Block Order on Antimicrobial Activity

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          A robust and versatile photoinduced living polymerization of conjugated and unconjugated monomers and its oxygen tolerance.

          Controlled/living radical polymerization techniques have transformed polymer chemistry in the last few decades, affording the production of polymers with precise control over both molecular weights and architectures. It is now possible to synthesize almost an infinite variety of macromolecules using nonspecialized equipment, finding applications in high-tech industry. However, they have several shortcomings. Until recently, living radical polymerizations could not be controlled by an external stimulus, such as visible light, pH, mechanical, chemical, etc. Moreover, they are usually sensitive to trace amounts of oxygen in the system. In this Article, we report a photoinduced living polymerization technique, which is able to polymerize a large range of monomers, including conjugated and unconjugated monomers, using ultralow concentrations of an iridium-based photoredox catalyst (typically 1 ppm to monomers) and a low energy visible LED as the light source (1-4.8 W, λ(max) = 435 nm). The synthesis of homopolymers with molecular weights ranging from 1000 to 2,000,000 g/mol was successfully achieved with narrow molecular weight distributions (M(w)/M(n) < 1.3). In addition, chain extensions of poly(methacrylate)s, poly(styrene), poly(N-vinyl pyrrolidinone), poly(vinyl ester)s, and poly(acrylate)s were performed to prepare diblock copolymers. The reusability of the catalyst was demonstrated by the synthesis of a decablock polymer by multiple chain extensions. Most importantly, this process was employed to prepare well-defined polymers and multiblock copolymers in the presence of air.
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            Combating multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria with structurally nanoengineered antimicrobial peptide polymers.

            With the recent emergence of reports on resistant Gram-negative 'superbugs', infections caused by multidrug-resistant (MDR) Gram-negative bacteria have been named as one of the most urgent global health threats due to the lack of effective and biocompatible drugs. Here, we show that a class of antimicrobial agents, termed 'structurally nanoengineered antimicrobial peptide polymers' (SNAPPs) exhibit sub-μM activity against all Gram-negative bacteria tested, including ESKAPE and colistin-resistant and MDR (CMDR) pathogens, while demonstrating low toxicity. SNAPPs are highly effective in combating CMDR Acinetobacter baumannii infections in vivo, the first example of a synthetic antimicrobial polymer with CMDR Gram-negative pathogen efficacy. Furthermore, we did not observe any resistance acquisition by A. baumannii (including the CMDR strain) to SNAPPs. Comprehensive analyses using a range of microscopy and (bio)assay techniques revealed that the antimicrobial activity of SNAPPs proceeds via a multimodal mechanism of bacterial cell death by outer membrane destabilization, unregulated ion movement across the cytoplasmic membrane and induction of the apoptotic-like death pathway, possibly accounting for why we did not observe resistance to SNAPPs in CMDR bacteria. Overall, SNAPPs show great promise as low-cost and effective antimicrobial agents and may represent a weapon in combating the growing threat of MDR Gram-negative bacteria.
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              Rational design of alpha-helical antimicrobial peptides with enhanced activities and specificity/therapeutic index.

              In the present study, the 26-residue peptide sequence Ac-KWKSFLKTFKSAVKTVLHTALKAISS-amide (V681) was utilized as the framework to study the effects of peptide hydrophobicity/hydrophilicity, amphipathicity, and helicity (induced by single amino acid substitutions in the center of the polar and nonpolar faces of the amphipathic helix) on biological activities. The peptide analogs were also studied by temperature profiling in reversed-phase high performance liquid chromatography, from 5 to 80 degrees C, to evaluate the self-associating ability of the molecules in solution, another important parameter in understanding peptide antimicrobial and hemolytic activities. A higher ability to self-associate in solution was correlated with weaker antimicrobial activity and stronger hemolytic activity of the peptides. Biological studies showed that strong hemolytic activity of the peptides generally correlated with high hydrophobicity, high amphipathicity, and high helicity. In most cases, the D-amino acid substituted peptides possessed an enhanced average antimicrobial activity compared with L-diastereomers. The therapeutic index of V681 was improved 90- and 23-fold against Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria, respectively. By simply replacing the central hydrophobic or hydrophilic amino acid residue on the nonpolar or the polar face of these amphipathic derivatives of V681 with a series of selected D-/L-amino acids, we demonstrated that this method has excellent potential for the rational design of antimicrobial peptides with enhanced activities.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Angewandte Chemie International Edition
                Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.
                Wiley
                14337851
                April 16 2018
                April 16 2018
                March 15 2018
                : 57
                : 17
                : 4559-4564
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Centre for Advanced Macromolecular Design (CAMD) and Australian Centre for NanoMedicine (ACN); School of Chemical Engineering; UNSW Australia; Sydney NSW 2052 Australia
                Article
                10.1002/anie.201713036
                29441657
                94c24fe8-c07e-42fa-8e8b-dfdfc9cabdd2
                © 2018

                http://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/tdm_license_1.1

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