A large number of antimicrobial peptides depend on intramolecular disulfide bonds for their biological activity. However, the relative instability of disulfide bonds has limited the potential of some of these peptides to be developed into therapeutics. Conversely, peptides containing intramolecular (methyl)lanthionine-based bonds, lanthipeptides, are highly stable under a broader range of biological and physical conditions. Here, the class-II lanthipeptide synthetase CinM, from the cinnamycin gene cluster, was employed to create methyllanthionine stabilized analogues of disulfide-bond-containing antimicrobial peptides. The resulting analogues were subsequently modified in vitro by adding lipid tails of variable lengths through chemical addition. Finally, the created compounds were characterized by MIC tests against several relevant pathogens, killing assays, membrane permeability assays, and hemolysis assays. It was found that CinM could successfully install methyllanthionine bonds at the intended positions of the analogues and that the lipidated macrocyclic core peptides have bactericidal activity against tested Gram-positive and Gram-negative pathogenic bacteria. Additionally, fluorescence microscopy assays revealed that the lipidated compounds disrupt the bacterial membrane and lyse bacterial cells, hinting toward a potential mode of action. Notably, the semisynthesized macrocyclic lipo-lanthipeptides show low hemolytic activity. These results show that the methods developed here extend the toolbox for novel antimicrobial development and might enable the further development of novel compounds with killing activity against relevant pathogenic bacteria.
- cyclis peptide
- synthetic biology