Convenient Preparation of Bactericidal Hydrogels by Covalent Attachment of Stabilized Antimicrobial Peptides Using Thiol–ene Click Chemistry

This report describes the design and synthesis of a bactericidal poly­(ethylene glycol)-based (PEG) hydrogel coating with covalently attached antimicrobial peptides (AMP) stabilized against proteolytic degradation. As such, mimics of the highly active AMP HHC10 (H-KRWWKWIRW-NH<sub>2</sub>) were designed for optimal stability in human serum while retaining strong antimicrobial activity against Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis, the major causative agents of biomaterial associated infection. In order to investigate the selectivity of the AMPs, their hemolytic activity was determined. A N-terminal cysteine facilitated thiol–ene chemistry for a fast, single-step immobilization/photopolymerization strategy. The antimicrobial activity of the resulting thin layer hydrogel coating on a PET surface was established using the Japanese Industrial Standard (JIS) Z2801 assay, showing complete killing (>99.9%) of inocula of S. aureus ATCC 49230, S. epidermidis ATCC 35984, and E. coli ATCC 8739.