Lipidated variants of the antimicrobial peptide nisin produced via incorporation of methionine analogs for click chemistry show improved bioactivity

Longcheng Guo, Chenhui Wang, Jaap Broos, Oscar P Kuipers*

*Corresponding author for this work

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The increase in antibiotic resistance calls for accelerated molecular engineering strategies to diversify natural products for drug discovery. Incorporation of non-canonical amino acids (ncAAs) is an elegant strategy for this purpose, offering a diverse pool of building blocks to introduce desired properties into antimicrobial lanthipeptides. We here report an expression system using Lactococcus lactis as host, for non-canonical amino acid incorporation with high efficiency and yield. We show that incorporating the more hydrophobic analog ethionine (instead of methionine) into nisin improves its bioactivity against several Gram-positive strains we tested. New-to-nature variants were further created by click chemistry. By azidohomoalanine (Aha) incorporation and subsequent click chemistry, we obtained lipidated variants at different positions in nisin or in truncated nisin variants. Some of them show improved bioactivity and specificity against several pathogenic bacterial strains. These results highlight the ability of this methodology for lanthipeptide multi-site lipidation, to create new-to-nature antimicrobial products with diverse features, and extending the toolbox for (lanthi)peptide drug improvement and discovery.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104845
Number of pages12
JournalThe Journal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number7
Early online date19-May-2023
Publication statusPublished - Jul-2023

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