Synthetic polymers have been used as a molecular platform to develop host-defense antimicrobial peptide (AMP) mimetics which are effective in killing drug-resistant bacteria. In this topical review, we will discuss the AMP-mimetic design and chemical optimization strategies as well as the biological and biophysical implications of AMP mimicry by synthetic polymers. Traditionally, synthetic polymers have been used as a chemical means to replicate the chemical functionalities and physicochemical properties of AMPs (e.g., cationic charge, hydrophobicity) to recapitulate their mode of action. However, we propose a new perception that AMP-mimetic polymers are an inherently bioactive platform as whole molecules, which mimic more than the side chain functionalities of AMPs. The tunable nature and chemical simplicity of synthetic random polymers facilitate the development of potent, cost-effective, broad-spectrum antimicrobials. The polymer-based approach offers the potential for many antimicrobial applications to be used directly in solution or attached to surfaces to fight against drug-resistant bacteria.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biomedical Engineering
- Pharmaceutical Science
- Organic Chemistry