Presidential Assistant Professor Cesar de la Fuente, has a new paper out in ACS Nano.
Encrypted peptides have been recently found in the human proteome and represent a potential class of antibiotics. Here we report three peptides derived from the human apolipoprotein B (residues 887–922) that exhibited potent antimicrobial activity against drug-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, and Staphylococci both in vitro and in an animal model. The peptides had excellent cytotoxicity profiles, targeted bacteria by depolarizing and permeabilizing their cytoplasmic membrane, inhibited biofilms, and displayed anti-inflammatory properties. Importantly, the peptides, when used in combination, potentiated the activity of conventional antibiotics against bacteria and did not select for bacterial resistance. To ensure translatability of these molecules, a protease resistant retro-inverso variant of the lead encrypted peptide was synthesized and demonstrated anti-infective activity in a preclinical mouse model. Our results provide a link between human plasma and innate immunity and point to the blood as a source of much-needed antimicrobials.