Published on Tue Aug 17 2021

AMPing up the search: An in silico approach to identifying Antimicrobial Peptides (AMPs) with potential anti-biofilm activity

Mhade, S., Panse, S., Tendulkar, G., Awate, R., Kadam, S., Kaushik, K.

Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) have been recognized for their anti-infective properties, including their ability to target processes important for biofilm formation. Given the vast array of natural and synthetic AMPs, determining potential candidates for anti-biofilm testing is a significant challenge. In this study, we present an in silico approach, based on open

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Abstract

Antibiotic resistance is a public health threat, and the rise of multidrug-resistant bacteria, including those that form protective biofilms, further compounds this challenge. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) have been recognized for their anti-infective properties, including their ability to target processes important for biofilm formation. However, given the vast array of natural and synthetic AMPs, determining potential candidates for anti-biofilm testing is a significant challenge. In this study, we present an in silico approach, based on open-source tools, to identify AMPs with potential anti-biofilm activity. This approach is developed using the sortase-pilin machinery, important for adhesion and biofilm formation, of the multidrug-resistant, biofilm-forming pathogen C. striatum as the target. Using homology modeling, we modeled the structure of the C. striatum sortase C protein, resembling the semi-open lid conformation adopted during pilus biogenesis. Next, we developed a structural library of 5544 natural and synthetic AMPs from sequences in the DRAMP database. From this library, AMPs with known anti-Gram positive activity were filtered, and 100 select AMPs were evaluated for their ability to interact with the sortase C protein using in-silico molecular docking. Based on interacting residues and docking scores, we built a preference scale to categorize candidate AMPs in order of priority for future in vitro and in vivo biofilm studies. The considerations and challenges of our approach, and the resources developed, which includes a search-enabled repository of predicted AMP structures, and protein-peptide interaction models relevant to biofilm studies (B-AMP), can be leveraged for similar investigations across other biofilm targets and biofilm-forming pathogens.