Informed molecular design of conjugated oligoelectrolytes to increase cell affinity and antimicrobial activity
Reference: Angewandte Chemie International Edition (2018) 57: 8069-8072.

Membrane-intercalating conjugated oligoelectrolytes (COEs) are emerging as potential alternatives to conventional, yet increasingly ineffective, antibiotics. Three readily accessible COEs, belonging to an unreported series containing a stilbene core, namely D4, D6, and D8, were designed and synthesised so that the hydrophobicity increases with increasing side-chain length. Decreased aqueous solubility correlates with increased uptake by E. coli. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of D8 is 4 μg mL−1 against both E. coli and E. faecalis, with an effective uptake of 72 %. In contrast, the MIC value of the shortest COE, D4, is 128 μg mL−1 owing to the low cellular uptake of 3 %. These findings demonstrate the application of rational design to generate efficacious antimicrobial COEs that have potential as low-cost antimicrobial agents.


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Zhou C., Chia W. N. G., Ho J.C.S., Seviour T. W., Sailov T., Liedberg B., Kjelleberg S., Hinks J., Bazan G. C.