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Keywords:

  • antimicrobial peptides;
  • α-helix;
  • branched peptides;
  • starlike structures;
  • selectivity
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

Linear, 2-arm branched, and 4-arm starlike peptides are designed and their antimicrobial and hemolytic activities are characterized. Branching molecular designs are demonstrated to enhance antimicrobial activity and reduce undesired hemolysis, leading to better selectivity towards microbes over mammalian cells. This unique strategy can also be applied to optimize the molecular structures of other types of macromolecular antimicrobials such as polymers.