Synthesis, characterization and in vitro activity of a surface-attached antimicrobial cationic peptide.

PMID 19408136


Infection associated with implanted biomaterials is common and costly and such infections are extremely resistant to antibiotics and host defenses. Consequently, there is a need to develop surfaces which resist bacterial adhesion and colonization. The broad spectrum synthetic cationic peptide melimine has been covalently linked to a surface via two azide linkers, 4-azidobenzoic acid (ABA) or 4-fluoro-3-nitrophenyl azide (FNA), and the resulting surfaces characterized by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and contact angle measurements. The quantity of bound peptide was estimated by a modified Bradford assay. The antimicrobial efficacy of the two melimine-modified surfaces against Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus was compared by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and fluorescence microscopy. Attachment of melimine via ABA gave an approximately 4-fold greater quantity of melimine bound to the surface than attachment via FNA. Surfaces melimine-modified by either attachment strategy showed significantly reduced bacterial adhesion for both strains of bacteria. P. aeruginosa exposed to ABA-melimine and FNA-melimine surfaces showed marked changes in cell morphology when observed by SEM and a reduction of approximately 15-fold (p < 0.001) in the numbers of adherent bacteria compared to controls. For the ABA-melimine surface there was a 33% increase in cells showing damaged membranes (p = 0.0016) while for FNA-melimine there was no significant difference. For S. aureus there were reductions in bacterial adhesion of approximately 40-fold (p < 0.0001) and 5-fold (p = 0.008) for surfaces modified with melimine via ABA or FNA, respectively. There was an increase in cells showing damaged membranes on ABA-melimine surfaces of approximately 87% (p = 0.001) compared to controls, while for FNA-melimine there was no significant difference observed. The data presented in this study show that melimine has excellent potential for development as a broad spectrum antimicrobial coating for biomaterial surfaces. Further, it was observed that the efficacy of antimicrobial activity is related to the method of attachment.

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4-Azidobenzoic acid solution, ~0.2 M in tert-butyl methyl ether, ≥95.0% (HPLC)