Jessica Alexander graduated from Youngstown State University with a B.S. in Chemistry in May 2011. She began her graduate career in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at The Ohio State University in Fall 2014 and started working in the Cowan lab later that year. Jessica is currently working on developing and characterizing catalytic metallodrugs that target bacterial pathogens, the hepatitis C virus internal ribosomal entry site RNA, and G-quadruplex DNA in cancer cells. Jessica would like to pursue a career in teaching.
Cu-ATCUN Derivatives of Antimicrobial Peptides: Advances Towards Novel Antibiotics
Antibiotic resistance has been increasing over the past few decades, so there is an urgent need to develop novel therapeutics to target a variety of pathogens. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are a large group of naturally occurring peptides found in all living organisms that display broad antimicrobial activity. A series of Cu-ATCUN derivative of antimicrobial peptides were developed. These Cu-AMPs were shown to have antimicrobial activity towards E. coli, MRSA, and P. aeruginosa, with derivatives of OV-3 showing enhanced activity. Many of the Cu-AMPs were able to bind and cleave duplex DNA. The Cu-AMPs were also able to bind 16s rRNA, and Cu-314 showed catalytic activity towards the RNA. Furthermore, derivatives of indolicidin and CP10A displayed nuclease activity in vivo. The OV-3 derivatives were able to permeabilize the membrane and oxidize lipids in vivo while OV-3 showed no permeabilization or oxidation of lipids. This work shows that the Cu-AMPs are able to target microbes with enhanced reactivity towards multiple biomolecules compared to their parent peptide derivatives.