© 2016 The Author(s). The opportunistic pathogen Staphylococcus aureus is recognized as one of the most frequent causes of biofilm-associated infections. The recently discovered phenol soluble modulins (PSMs) are small α-helical amphipathic peptides that act as the main molecular effectors of staphylococcal biofilm maturation, promoting the formation of an extracellular fibril structure with amyloid-like properties. Here, we combine computational, biophysical and in cell analysis to address the specific contribution of individual PSMs to biofilm structure. We demonstrate that despite their highly similar sequence and structure, contrary to what it was previously thought, not all PSMs participate in amyloid fibril formation. A balance of hydrophobic/hydrophilic forces and helical propensity seems to define the aggregation propensity of PSMs and control their assembly and function. This knowledge would allow to target specifically the amyloid properties of these peptides. In this way, we show that Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), the principal polyphenol in green tea, prevents the assembly of amyloidogenic PSMs and disentangles their preformed amyloid fibrils.
|Publication status||Published - 6 Oct 2016|