Differential presentation of a single antimicrobial peptide is sufficient to identify LPS from distinct bacterial samples†
Rapid detection and identification of bacteria is important for human health, biodefense, and food safety. Small arrays of different antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) enable the identification of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) samples from a variety of bacterial species and strains. A model system for examining how peptide presentation affects LPS detection is the sheep myeloid antimicrobial peptide (SMAP-29), which contains a helix-turn-helix motif. Varying the cysteine attachment site on SMAP-29 controls the three-dimensional presentation of the peptide on the surface, altering the ability of the peptide to discriminate between LPS samples. A small array of only SMAP-29 variants—and no other peptides—is capable of discriminating among LPS samples from multiple bacterial species, as well as between different strains within the same species, with high accuracy.