High-Throughput Screening Identifies Synthetic Peptides with Antibacterial Activity against Mycobacterium abscessus and Serum Stability

Natalie Iannuzo, Yannik A. Haller, Michelle McBride, Sabrina Mehari, John C. Lainson, Chris W. Diehnelt, Shelley E. Haydel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The rise in antibiotic resistance in bacteria has spawned new technological approaches for identifying novel antimicrobials with narrow specificity. Current antibiotic treatment regimens and antituberculosis drugs are not effective in treating Mycobacterium abscessus. Meanwhile, antimicrobial peptides are gaining prominence as alternative antimicrobials due to their specificity toward anionic bacterial membranes, rapid action, and limited development of resistance. To rapidly identify antimicrobial peptide candidates, our group has developed a high-density peptide microarray consisting of 125,000 random synthetic peptides screened for interaction with the mycobacterial cell surface of M. abscessus morphotypes. From the array screening, peptides positive for interaction were synthesized and their antimicrobial activity was validated. Overall, six peptides inhibited the M. abscessus smooth morphotype (IC50 = 1.7 μM for all peptides) and had reduced activity against the M. abscessus rough morphotype (IC50 range: 13-82 μM). Peptides ASU2056 and ASU2060 had minimum inhibitory concentration values of 32 and 8 μM, respectively, against the M. abscessus smooth morphotype. Additionally, ASU2060 (8 μM) was active against Escherichia coli, including multidrug-resistant E. coli clinical isolates, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. ASU2056 and ASU2060 exhibited no significant hemolytic activity at biologically relevant concentrations, further supporting these peptides as promising therapeutic candidates. Moreover, ASU2060 retained antibacterial activity after preincubation in human serum for 24 h. With antimicrobial resistance on the rise, methods such as those presented here will streamline the peptide discovery process for targeted antimicrobial peptides.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23967-23977
Number of pages11
JournalACS Omega
Issue number27
StatePublished - Jul 12 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'High-Throughput Screening Identifies Synthetic Peptides with Antibacterial Activity against Mycobacterium abscessus and Serum Stability'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this