A potential food biopreservative, CecXJ-37N, non-covalently intercalates into the nucleotides of bacterial genomic DNA beyond membrane attack

Liu et al have developed the amide-modified antimicrobial peptide (AMP) CecXJ-37N, based on one of many cecropin AMPs, cecropin XJ. It is being designed and tested specifically with the food industry in mind, as an antibacterial food preservative. Microbe contamination can cause serious food-borne illness, but chemical preservatives like nitrites and sulfites can be cause for other safety concerns; CecXJ-37N is derived from a natural product, and will hopefully exemplify a better safety profile. Showing potent antibacterial activity against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria in addition to low cytotoxicity and a negative hemolytic rate, CecXJ-37N shows promise as a safe antibacterial agent for the food industry. Its mechanism of action was also investigated, showing incredibly fast cytolysis in addition to a DNA-based interaction. We look forward to their planned further study on CecXJ-37N’s apparent ability to intercalate into nucleotides of DNA, and the binding’s effect on antibacterial activity and cytotoxicity.

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