Development of a peptide antagonist against fsr quorum sensing of enterococcus faecalis

Jiro Nakayama, Ryoji Yokohata, Mami Sato, Takashi Suzuki, Takahisa Matsufuji, Kenzo Nishiguchi, Takeshi Kawai, Yosuke Yamanaka, Koji Nagata, Masaru Tanokura, Kenji Sonomoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


Enterococcus faecalis fsr quorum sensing (QS) involves an 11-residue cyclic peptide named gelatinase biosynthesis-Activating pheromone (GBAP) that autoinduces two pathogenicity-related extracellular proteases in a cell density-dependent fashion. To identify anti-pathogenic agents that target fsr QS signaling, peptide antagonists of GBAP were created by our unique drug design approach based on reverse alanine scanning. First of all, a receptor-binding scaffold (RBS), [Ala4,5,6,8,9,11]Z-GBAP, was created, in which all amino acids within the ring region of GBAP, except for two essential aromatic residues, were substituted to alanine. Next, the substituted alanine residues were changed back to the original amino acid one by one, permitting selection of those peptide combinations exhibiting increased antagonist activity. After three cycles of this reverse alanine scan, [Ala5,9,11]Z-GBAP was obtained as a maximally reverted peptide (MRP) holding the strongest antagonist activity. Then, the fifth residue in MRP, which is one of the critical residues to determine agonist/antagonist activity, was further modified by substituting with different types of amino acids including unnatural amino acids. As a result, [Tyr(Bzl)5, Ala9,11]Z-GBAP, named ZBzl-YAA5911, showed the strongest antagonist activity [IC50 = 26.2 nM and K d against GBAP receptor (FsrC) = 39.4 nM]. In vivo efficacy of this peptide was assessed with an aphakic rabbit endophthalmitis model. ZBzl-YAA5911 suppressed the translocation of E. faecalis from the aqueous humor into the vitreous cavity by more than 1 order of magnitude and significantly reduced retinal damage. We propose that ZBzl-YAA5911 or its derivatives would be useful as anti-infective agents to attenuate virulence expression in this opportunistic pathogen.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)804-811
Number of pages8
JournalACS Chemical Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 19 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine


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