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Keywords:

  • l-2-aminopimelic acid;
  • antibacterial peptides;
  • bacteriolysis;
  • β-chloro-L-alanine;
  • diaminopimelate pathway

Taking advantage of the peptide transport strategy, we have designed and synthesized several new peptides containing 2-aminopimelic acid (Apm), an inhibitor of the diaminopimelate pathway in bacteria: L-LYS-ambo-Apm, ambo-Apm-L-Lys, L-Lys-L-Ala-ambo-Apm, ambo-Apm-L-Ala-L-Lys, L-Ala(CI)-ambo-Apm and ambo-Apm-L-Ala(CI). In the two latter cases, Apm was associated with antibacterial amino acid β-chloro-L-alanine [L-Ala(CI)], an inhibitor of alanine racemase and transaminase B. The peptides displayed weak or no antibacterial activities; nevertheless, those containing L-Ala(CI) had low MIC values in the presence of amino acids restoring protein synthesis. When tested on exponential phase Escherichia coli cells grown in minimal medium, the peptides were without effect or bacteriostatic, but important bacteriolytic effects could be observed, especially for the L-Ala(CI)-containing peptides, when the growth medium was supplemented with specific amino acids. It was demonstrated that the weak or nil effect of the L-lysine-containing peptides was due to a poor uptake.