Efficient Synergistic Antibacterial Activity of α-MSH Using Chitosan-Based Versatile Nanoconjugates

ACS Omega. 2023 Mar 30;8(14):12865-12877. doi: 10.1021/acsomega.2c08209. eCollection 2023 Apr 11.


The application of antimicrobial peptides has emerged as an alternative therapeutic tool to encounter against multidrug resistance of different pathogenic organisms. α-Melanocyte stimulating hormone (α-MSH), an endogenous neuropeptide, is found to be efficient in eradicating infection of various kinds of Staphylococcus aureus, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). However, the chemical stability and efficient delivery of these biopharmaceuticals (i.e., α-MSH) to bacterial cells with a significant antibacterial effect remains a key challenge. To address this issue, we have developed a chitosan-cholesterol polymer using a single-step, one-pot, and simple chemical conjugation technique, where α-MSH is loaded with a significantly high amount (37.7%), and the final product is obtained as chitosan-cholesterol α-MSH polymer-drug nanoconjugates. A staphylococcal growth inhibition experiment was performed using chitosan-cholesterol α-MSH and individual controls. α-MSH and chitosan-cholesterol both show bacterial growth inhibition by a magnitude of 50 and 79%, respectively. The killing efficiency of polymer-drug nanoconjugates was very drastic, and almost no bacterial colony was observed (∼100% inhibition) after overnight incubation. Phenotypic alternation was observed in the presence of α-MSH causing changes in the cell structure and shape, indicating stress on Staphylococcus aureus. As a further consequence, vigorous cell lysis with concomitant release of the cellular material in the nearby medium was observed after treatment of chitosan-cholesterol α-MSH nanoconjugates. This vigorous lysis of the cell structure is associated with extensive aggregation of the bacterial cells evident in scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The dose-response experiment was performed with various concentrations of chitosan-cholesterol α-MSH nanoconjugates to decipher the degree of the bactericidal effect. The concentration of α-MSH as low as 1 pM also shows significant inhibition of bacterial growth (∼40% growth inhibition) of Staphylococcus aureus. Despite playing an important role in inhibiting bacterial growth, our investigation on hemolytic assay shows that chitosan-cholesterol α-MSH is significantly nontoxic at a wide range of concentrations. In a nutshell, our analysis demonstrated novel antimicrobial activity of nanoparticle-conjugated α-MSH, which could be used as future therapeutics against multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and other types of bacterial cells.

PMID:37065019 | PMC:PMC10099120 | DOI:10.1021/acsomega.2c08209


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