Published on April 2017 | Antibacterial activity of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) mimics
Synthetic polymer-based antimicrobial materials destroy conventional antibiotic resistant microorganisms. Although these antibacterial polymers imitate the properties of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), their effect on bacterial cell morphology has not been studied in detail. To investigate the morphology change of a bacterial cell in the presence of antimicrobial polymer, herein we have designed and synthesized side-chain amino acid-based cationic polymers, which showed efficient antibacterial activity against Gram-negative (Escherichia coli), as well as Gram-positive (Bacillus subtilis) bacteria. Morphological switching from a rod shape to a spherical shape of E. coli cells was observed by field emission-scanning electron microscopy analysis due to cell wall disruption, whereas the B. subtilis cell structure and size remained intact, but stacks of the cells formed after polymer treatment. The zone of inhibition experiment on an agar plate for E. coli cells exhibited drastic morphological changes at the vicinity of the polymer-treated portion and somewhat less of an effect at the periphery of the plate.