Alanine Scan of the Peptide Antibiotic Feglymycin: Assessment of Amino Acid Side Chains Contributing to Antimicrobial Activity



The antibiotic feglymycin is a linear 13-mer peptide synthesized by the bacterium Streptomyces sp. DSM 11171. It mainly consists of the nonproteinogenic amino acids 4-hydroxyphenylglycine and 3,5-dihydroxyphenylglycine. An alanine scan of feglymycin was performed by solution-phase peptide synthesis in order to assess the significance of individual amino acid side chains for biological activity. Hence, 13 peptides were synthesized from di- and tripeptide building blocks, and subsequently tested for antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus strains. Furthermore we tested the inhibition of peptidoglycan biosynthesis enzymes MurA and MurC, which are inhibited by feglymycin. Whereas the antibacterial activity is significantly based on the three amino acids D-Hpg1, L-Hpg5, and L-Phe12, the inhibitory activity against MurA and MurC depends mainly on L-Asp13. The difference in the position dependence for antibacterial activity and enzyme inhibition suggests multiple molecular targets in the modes of action of feglymycin.