Cationic biofilm inhibitors

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Science  05 Feb 2016:
Vol. 351, Issue 6273, pp. 572-573
DOI: 10.1126/science.351.6273.572-e

Antibiotics are far more effective if the bacteria they target have not formed a biofilm, a structure held together by an extracellular matrix composed of a variety of polysaccharides, proteins, and other biomolecules, through weak interactions such as hydrogen bonds, van der Waals interactions, and ionic contacts. Joseph et al. show that the formation of biofilms by several Gram-positive bacteria is inhibited by cationic pillarenes, small ring compounds that link five or six aryl groups. The ring interior could interact with hydrophobic contacts, and substituted quaternary ammonium groups on the exterior faces could disrupt ionic contacts. Because these molecules are not antimicrobial, they should not inhibit beneficial gut bacteria.

J. Am. Chem. Soc. 10.1021/jacs.5b11834 (2016).

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