Influence of PEG Subunit on the Biological Activity of Ionenes: Synthesis of Novel Polycations, Antimicrobial and Toxicity Studies


Kopiasz, R. J.; Kulbacka, N.; Drężek, K.; Podgórski, R.; Łojszczyk, I.; Mierzejewska, J.; Ciach, T.; Augustynowicz‐Kopeć, E.; Głogowska, A.; Iwańska, A.; Tomaszewski, W.; Jańczewski, D.

Macromol. Biosci. 2022, 22 (7), 2200094.

An alarming increase of antibiotic resistance among pathogens creates an urgent need to develop new antimicrobial agents. Many reported polycations show high antimicrobial activity along with low hemolytic activity. Unfortunately, most of those molecules remain highly cytotoxic against various mammalian cells. In this work, a systematic study on the impact of triethylene glycol monomethyl ether side groups (short polyethylene glycol (PEG) analog) on antimicrobial, hemolytic, and cytotoxic properties of novel amphiphilic ionenes is presented. A detailed description of synthesis, leading to well-defined alternating polymers, which differ in structural elements responsible for hydrophilicity (PEG) and hydrophobicity (alkyl chain), is presented. Obtained results show that the PEG moiety and fine-tuned hydrophilic-lipophilic balance of ionenes synergistically lead to low cytotoxic, low hemolytic molecules with high activity against S. aureus, including methicillin-resistant strains (MRSA). Additionally, the results of mechanistic studies on bacterial cells and fluorescently labeled liposomes are also discussed.