The antimicrobial effects of the alginate oligomer OligoG CF-5/20 are independent of direct bacterial cell membrane disruption

Manon F. Pritchard*, Lydia C. Powell, Saira Khan, Peter C. Griffiths, Omar T. Mansour, Ralf Schweins, Konrad Beck, Niklaas J. Buurma, Christopher E. Dempsey, Chris J. Wright, Philip D. Rye, Katja E. Hill, David W. Thomas, Elaine L. Ferguson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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Concerns about acquisition of antibiotic resistance have led to increasing demand for new antimicrobial therapies. OligoG CF-5/20 is an alginate oligosaccharide previously shown to have antimicrobial and antibiotic potentiating activity. We investigated the structural modification of the bacterial cell wall by OligoG CF-5/20 and its effect on membrane permeability. Binding of OligoG CF-5/20 to the bacterial cell surface was demonstrated in Gram-negative bacteria. Permeability assays revealed that OligoG CF-5/20 had virtually no membrane-perturbing effects. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) surface charge and aggregation were unaltered in the presence of OligoG CF-5/20. Small angle neutron scattering and circular dichroism spectroscopy showed no substantial change to the structure of LPS in the presence of OligoG CF-5/20, however, isothermal titration calorimetry demonstrated a weak calcium-mediated interaction. Metabolomic analysis confirmed no change in cellular metabolic response to a range of osmolytes when treated with OligoG CF-5/20. This data shows that, although weak interactions occur between LPS and OligoG CF-5/20 in the presence of calcium, the antimicrobial effects of OligoG CF-5/20 are not related to the induction of structural alterations in the LPS or cell permeability. These results suggest a novel mechanism of action that may avoid the common route in acquisition of resistance via LPS structural modification.

Original languageEnglish
Article number44731
Number of pages12
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2017


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