Background: The increasing emergence of clinical infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) challenges existing therapeutic options and highlights the need to develop novel treatment strategies. The ftsZ gene is essential to bacterial cell division. Methods: In this study, two antisense peptide nucleic acids (PNAs) conjugated to a cell-penetrating peptide were used to inhibit the growth of MRSA. PPNA1, identified with computational prediction and dot-blot hybridization, is complementary to nucleotides 309-323 of the ftsZ mRNA. PPNA2 was designed to target the region that includes the translation initiation site and the ribosomal-binding site (Shine-Dalgarno sequence) of the ftsZ gene. Scrambled PPNA was constructed with mismatches to three bases within the antisense PPNA1 sequence. Results: PPNA1 and PPNA2 caused concentration-dependent growth inhibition and had bactericidal effects. The minimal bactericidal concentrations of antisense PPNA1 and PPNA2 were 30. μmol/l and 40. μmol/l, respectively. The scrambled PPNA had no effect on bacterial growth, even at higher concentrations, confirming the sequence specificity of the probes. RT-PCR showed that the antisense PPNAs suppressed ftsZ mRNA expression in a dose-dependent manner. Conclusion: Our results demonstrate that the potent effects of PNAs on bacterial growth and cell viability were mediated by the down-regulation or even knock-out of ftsZ gene expression. This highlights the utility of ftsZ as a promising target for the development of new antisense antibacterial agents to treat MRSA infections.
Liang, S., He, Y., Xia, Y., Wang, H., Wang, L., Gao, R., & Zhang, M. (2015). Inhibiting the growth of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in vitro with antisense peptide nucleic acid conjugates targeting the ftsZ gene. International Journal of Infectious Diseases, 30, e1–e6. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijid.2014.09.015