Assay Development and Screening
Many platforms can screen peptides for their ability to bind to bacteria, but there are virtually no platforms that directly assess the phenotypic outcome of the interaction. This limitation is exacerbated when identifying antimicrobial peptides because the phenotype, death, selects against itself. This has caused a bottleneck that confines research to a few naturally occurring classes of antimicrobial peptides. We have used this seeming dissonance to develop Surface Localized Antimicrobial Display (SLAY), a platform that allows screening of unlimited numbers of peptides of any length, composition and structure in a single tube for antimicrobial activity. Using SLAY, we screened ~800,000 random peptides for antimicrobial function and identified thousands of active sequences. SLAY hits present with unique potential mechanisms of action and access to areas of antimicrobial physicochemical space beyond what nature has evolved.