A biomimetic peptide recognizes and traps bacteria in vivo as human defensin-6

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Science Advances  08 May 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 19, eaaz4767
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaz4767


Using broad-spectrum antibiotics for microbial infection may cause flora disequilibrium, drug-resistance, etc., seriously threatening human health. Here, we design a human defensin-6 mimic peptide (HDMP) that inhibits bacterial invasion in vivo through mimicking the mechanisms of human defensin-6 with high efficiency and precision. The HDMP with ligand and self-assembling peptide sequence recognizes bacteria through ligand-receptor interactions and subsequently traps bacteria by an in situ adaptive self-assembly process and resulting nanofibrous networks; these trapped bacteria are unable to invade host cells. In four animal infection models, the infection rate was markedly decreased. Notably, administration of HDMP (5 mg/kg) nanoparticles increased the survival rate of mice with methicillin-resistant S. aureus bacteremia by as much as 100%, even more than that of vancomycin treatment (5 mg/kg, 83.3%)–treated group, the golden standard of antibiotics. This biomimetic peptide shows great potential as a precise and highly efficient antimicrobial agent.

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