High Throughput Screening Methods for Assessing Antibiofilm and Immunomodulatory Activities of Synthetic Peptides

Peptides. 2015 Sep;71:276-85. doi: 10.1016/j.peptides.2015.03.015. Epub 2015 Mar 31.


The recent observation that certain cationic peptides possess potent antibiofilm activity demonstrated that small peptides could be used to treat biofilm-associated infections. Other so-called innate defense regulator peptides possess potent immunomodulatory properties such as leukocyte recruitment and suppression of harmful inflammation. A peptide that directly targets biofilm cells while favorably modulating the immune response would be particularly advantageous for treating serious skin infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus. In the present work, using SPOT-synthesized peptide arrays on cellulose membranes, we outline a strategy for systematically assessing the antibiofilm activity of hundreds of IDR-1002 (VQRWLIVWRIRK-NH2) and IDR-HH2 (VQLRIRVAVIRA-NH2) peptide variants against MRSA biofilms. In addition, the ability of these peptides to stimulate production of a monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP-1) and suppress LPS-induced interleukin (IL)-1β production in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) was evaluated. These results informed the synthesis of second-generation peptides resulting in a new peptide, IDR-2009 (KWRLLIRWRIQK-NH2), with enhanced MCP-1 stimulatory activity, favorable IL-1β suppression characteristics and strong antibiofilm activity against MRSA and Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms. This work provides a proof-of-concept that multiple peptide activities can be optimized simultaneously to generate novel sequences that possess a variety of biological properties.

Keywords: Antibiofilm peptide; Bacterial biofilms; Immunomodulatory peptide; Peptide optimization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides* / chemical synthesis
  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides* / chemistry
  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides* / pharmacology
  • Biofilms / drug effects*
  • Chemokine CCL2 / immunology
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors* / chemical synthesis
  • Immunologic Factors* / chemistry
  • Immunologic Factors* / pharmacology
  • Interleukin-1beta / immunology
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / immunology*
  • Lipopolysaccharides / pharmacology
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus / physiology*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / physiology*


  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides
  • CCL2 protein, human
  • Chemokine CCL2
  • IL1B protein, human
  • Immunologic Factors
  • Interleukin-1beta
  • Lipopolysaccharides