2Faculty of Chemistry, Lomonosov Moscow State University, 119991 Moscow, Russia
* To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received August 11, 2020; Revised September 28, 2020; Accepted October 6, 2020
The discovery of antibiotics was one of the fundamental stages in the development of humanity, leading to a dramatic increase in the life expectancy of millions of people all over the world. The uncontrolled use of antibiotics resulted in the selection of resistant strains of bacteria, limiting the effectiveness of antimicrobial therapy nowadays. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) were considered promising candidates for next-generation antibiotics for a long time. However, the practical application of AMPs is restricted by their low therapeutic indices, impaired pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics, which is predetermined by their peptide structure. Nevertheless, the DNA-encoded nature of AMPs enables creating broad repertoires of artificial biodiversity of antibiotics, making them versatile templates for the directed evolution of antibiotic activity. Lantibiotics are a unique class of AMPs with an expanded chemical space. A variety of post-translational modifications, mechanisms of action on bacterial membranes, and DNA-encoded nature make them a convenient molecular template for creating highly representative libraries of antimicrobial compounds. Isolation of new drug candidates from this synthetic biodiversity is extremely attractive but requires high-throughput screening of antibiotic activity. The combination of synthetic biology and ultrahigh-throughput microfluidics allows implementing the concept of directed evolution of lantibiotics for accelerated creation of new promising drug candidates.
KEY WORDS: directed evolution of antimicrobial activity, DNA-encoded antibiotics, ultrahigh-throughput screening, microfluidics, lantibiotic bioengineering, drug discovery, antibiotic resistance