Resistance of plant-pathogenic bacteria to classic antibiotics has prompted the search for suitable alternative antimicrobial substances. One promising strategy could be the use of purposely synthesized random peptide mixtures (RPMs). Six plant-pathogenic bacteria were cultivated and treated with two RPMs previously found to show antimicrobial activity mainly by bacterial membrane disruption. Here, we show that bacteria treated with RPMs showed partly remarkable changes in the fatty acid pattern while those unaffected did not. Quantitative changes could be verified by compound specific isotope analysis of δ13C values (‰). This technique was employed due to the characteristic feature of stronger bonds between heavier isotopes in (bio)chemical reactions. As a proof of concept, the increase in abundance of a fatty acid group after RPM treatment was accompanied with a decrease in the 13C content and vice versa. We propose that our findings will help designing and synthesizing more selective antimicrobial peptides.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We are grateful for financial support by the Ministry of Science, Research and Arts, Baden-Württemberg (Germany) in the framework of the partnership program between the Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Faculties of Agricultural and Natural Sciences of the University of Hohenheim.
© 2022, The Author(s).