Current scenario of peptide-based drugs: the key roles of cationic antitumor and antiviral peptides.
ABSTRACT: Cationic antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) and host defense peptides (HDPs) show vast potential as peptide-based drugs. Great effort has been made in order to exploit their mechanisms of action, aiming to identify their targets as well as to enhance their activity and bioavailability. In this review, we will focus on both naturally occurring and designed antiviral and antitumor cationic peptides, including those here called promiscuous, in which multiple targets are associated with a single peptide structure. Emphasis will be given to their biochemical features, selectivity against extra targets, and molecular mechanisms. Peptides which possess antitumor activity against different cancer cell lines will be discussed, as well as peptides which inhibit virus replication, focusing on their applications for human health, animal health and agriculture, and their potential as new therapeutic drugs. Moreover, the current scenario for production and the use of nanotechnology as delivery tool for both classes of cationic peptides, as well as the perspectives on improving them is considered.
Project description:Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) have been an area of great interest, due to the high selectivity of these molecules toward bacterial targets over host cells and the limited development of bacterial resistance to these molecules throughout evolution. The peptide C18G has been shown to be a selective, broad spectrum AMP with a net +8 cationic charge from seven lysine residues in the sequence. In this work, the cationic Lys residues were replaced with other natural or non-proteinogenic cationic amino acids: arginine, histidine, ornithine, or diaminopropionic acid. These changes vary in the structure of the amino acid side chain, the identity of the cationic moiety, and the pKa of the cationic group. Using a combination of spectroscopic and microbiological methods, the influence of these cationic groups on membrane binding, secondary structure, and antibacterial activity was investigated. The replacement of Lys with most other cationic residues had, at most, 2-fold effects on minimal inhibitory concentration against a variety of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. However, the peptide containing His as the cationic group showed dramatically reduced activity. All peptide variants retained the ability to bind lipid vesicles and showed clear preference for binding vesicles that contained anionic lipids. Similarly, all peptides adopted a helical conformation when bound to lipids or membrane mimetics, although the peptide containing diaminopropionic acid exhibited a decreased helicity. The peptides exhibited a wider variety of activity in the permeabilization of bacterial membranes, with peptides containing Lys, Arg, or Orn being the most broadly active. In all, the antibacterial activity of the C18G peptide is generally tolerant to changes in the structure and identity of the cationic amino acids, yielding new possibilities for design and development of AMPs that may be less susceptible to immune and bacterial recognition or in vivo degradation.
Project description:Cationic antimicrobial peptides/proteins (AMPs) are important components of the host innate defense mechanisms against invading microorganisms. Here we demonstrate that OprI (outer membrane protein I) of Pseudomonas aeruginosa is responsible for its susceptibility to human ribonuclease 7 (hRNase 7) and alpha-helical cationic AMPs, instead of surface lipopolysaccharide, which is the initial binding site of cationic AMPs. The antimicrobial activities of hRNase 7 and alpha-helical cationic AMPs against P. aeruginosa were inhibited by the addition of exogenous OprI or anti-OprI antibody. On modification and internalization of OprI by hRNase 7 into cytosol, the bacterial membrane became permeable to metabolites. The lipoprotein was predicted to consist of an extended loop at the N terminus for hRNase 7/lipopolysaccharide binding, a trimeric alpha-helix, and a lysine residue at the C terminus for cell wall anchoring. Our findings highlight a novel mechanism of antimicrobial activity and document a previously unexplored target of alpha-helical cationic AMPs, which may be used for screening drugs to treat antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection.
Project description:Host-defense peptides (HDPs) are produced by eukaryotes to defend against bacterial infection, and diverse synthetic polymers have recently been explored as mimics of these natural peptides. HDPs are rich in both hydrophobic and cationic amino acid residues, and most HDP-mimetic polymers have therefore contained binary combinations of hydrophobic and cationic subunits. However, HDP-mimetic polymers rarely duplicate the hydrophobic surface and cationic charge density found among HDPs ( Hu , K. ; et al. Macromolecules 2013 , 46 , 1908 ); the charge and hydrophobicity are generally higher among the polymers. Statistical analysis of HDP sequences ( Wang , G. ; et al. Nucleic Acids Res. 2009 , 37 , D933 ) has revealed that serine (polar but uncharged) is a very common HDP constituent and that glycine is more prevalent among HDPs than among proteins in general. These observations prompted us to prepare and evaluate ternary nylon-3 copolymers that contain a modestly polar but uncharged subunit, either serine-like or glycine-like, along with a hydrophobic subunit and a cationic subunit. Starting from binary hydrophobic-cationic copolymers that were previously shown to be highly active against bacteria but also highly hemolytic, we found that replacing a small proportion of the hydrophobic subunit with either of the polar, uncharged subunits can diminish the hemolytic activity with minimal impact on the antibacterial activity. These results indicate that the incorporation of polar, uncharged subunits may be generally useful for optimizing the biological activity profiles of antimicrobial polymers. In the context of HDP evolution, our findings suggest that there is a selective advantage to retaining polar, uncharged residues in natural antimicrobial peptides.
Project description:In the last several decades, there have been significant advances in anticancer therapy. However, the development of resistance to cancer drugs and the lack of specificity related to actively dividing cells leading to toxic side effects have undermined these achievements. As a result, there is considerable interest in alternative drugs with novel antitumor mechanisms. In addition to the recent approach using immunotherapy, an effective but much cheaper therapeutic option of pharmaceutical drugs would still provide the best choice for cancer patients as the first line treatment. Ribosomally synthesized cationic antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) or host defense peptides (HDP) display broad-spectrum activity against bacteria based on electrostatic interactions with negatively charged lipids on the bacterial surface. Because of increased proportions of phosphatidylserine (negatively charged) on the surface of cancer cells compared to normal cells, cationic amphipathic peptides could be an effective source of anticancer agents that are both selective and refractory to current resistance mechanisms. We reviewed herein the prospect for AMP application to cancer treatment, with a focus on modes of action of cationic AMPs.
Project description:More than 40 antimicrobial peptides and proteins (AMPs) are expressed in the oral cavity. These AMPs have been organized into 6 functional groups, 1 of which, cationic AMPs, has received extensive attention in recent years for their promise as potential antibiotics. The goal of this review is to describe recent advances in our understanding of the diverse mechanisms of action of cationic AMPs and the bacterial resistance against these peptides. The recently developed peptide GL13K is used as an example to illustrate many of the discussed concepts. Cationic AMPs typically exhibit an amphipathic conformation, which allows increased interaction with negatively charged bacterial membranes. Peptides undergo changes in conformation and aggregation state in the presence of membranes; conversely, lipid conformation and packing can adapt to the presence of peptides. As a consequence, a single peptide can act through several mechanisms depending on the peptide's structure, the peptide:lipid ratio, and the properties of the lipid membrane. Accumulating evidence shows that in addition to acting at the cell membrane, AMPs may act on the cell wall, inhibit protein folding or enzyme activity, or act intracellularly. Therefore, once a peptide has reached the cell wall, cell membrane, or its internal target, the difference in mechanism of action on gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria may be less pronounced than formerly assumed. While AMPs should not cause widespread resistance due to their preferential attack on the cell membrane, in cases where specific protein targets are involved, the possibility exists for genetic mutations and bacterial resistance. Indeed, the potential clinical use of AMPs has raised the concern that resistance to therapeutic AMPs could be associated with resistance to endogenous host-defense peptides. Current evidence suggests that this is a rare event that can be overcome by subtle structural modifications of an AMP.
Project description:The application of high-throughput sequencing technologies to non-model organisms has brought new opportunities for the identification of bioactive peptides from genomes and transcriptomes. From this point of view, marine invertebrates represent a potentially rich, yet largely unexplored resource for de novo discovery due to their adaptation to diverse challenging habitats. Bioinformatics analyses of available genomic and transcriptomic data allowed us to identify myticalins, a novel family of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) from the mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis, and a similar family of AMPs from Modiolus spp., named modiocalins. Their coding sequence encompasses two conserved N-terminal (signal peptide) and C-terminal (propeptide) regions and a hypervariable central cationic region corresponding to the mature peptide. Myticalins are taxonomically restricted to Mytiloida and they can be classified into four subfamilies. These AMPs are subject to considerable interindividual sequence variability and possibly to presence/absence variation. Functional assays performed on selected members of this family indicate a remarkable tissue-specific expression (in gills) and broad spectrum of activity against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Overall, we present the first linear AMPs ever described in marine mussels and confirm the great potential of bioinformatics tools for the de novo discovery of bioactive peptides in non-model organisms.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:Scorpion venom is a source of bioactive peptides, and some antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) have been found in the venom gland of scorpions. Therefore, the discovery of new anti-infective agents is an essential need to overcome the problem of antibiotic resistance of clinical isolates. Here, we describe three new cationic AMPs, including meuVAP-6, meuAP-18-1, and meuPep34 from the venom gland of the Iranian scorpion, Mesobuthus eupeus. METHODS:The cDNA sequences encoding all the three peptides were obtained from the cDNA library of scorpion venom gland and were deposited in the GenBank database. RESULTS:MeuVAP-6 and meuAP-18-1 are non-disulphide-bridged antimicrobial peptides, while meuPep34 is a cysteine-rich defensin-like peptide. DISCUSSION:All three identified AMPs are rich in arginine and tryptophan. The overall results from the length, net charge, and hydrophobicity index suggested that meuPep34 could be the most active AMPs with the potential ability of biofilm inhibition. The data from molecular characterization of identified AMPs can provide a platform for further investigations in the drug design.
Project description:Cationic antimicrobial peptides are ubiquitous immune effectors of multicellular organisms. We previously reported, that in contrast to most of the classic antibiotics, cationic antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) do not increase mutation rates in E. coli Here, we provide new evidence showing that AMPs do not stimulate or enhance bacterial DNA recombination in the surviving fractions. Recombination accelerates evolution of antibiotic resistance. Our findings have implications for our understanding of host-microbe interactions, the evolution of innate immune defences, and shed new light on the dynamic of antimicrobial-resistance evolution.
Project description:Cationic antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are active immune effectors of multicellular organisms and are also considered as new antimicrobial drug candidates. One of the problems encountered when developing AMPs as drugs is the difficulty of reaching sufficient killing concentrations under physiological conditions. Here, using pexiganan, a cationic peptide derived from a host defense peptide of the African clawed frog and the first AMP developed into an antibacterial drug, we studied whether sub-lethal effects of AMPs can be harnessed to devise treatment combinations. We studied the pexiganan stress response of Staphylococcus aureus at sub-lethal concentrations using quantitative proteomics. Several proteins involved in nucleotide metabolism were elevated, suggesting a metabolic demand. We then show that Staphylococcus aureus is highly susceptible to antimetabolite nucleoside analogs when exposed to pexiganan, even at sub-inhibitory concentrations. These findings could be used to enhance pexiganan potency while decreasing the risk of resistance emergence, and our findings can likely be extended to other antimicrobial peptides.
Project description:Antimicrobial peptides/proteins (AMPs) are important components of the host innate defense mechanisms. Here we demonstrate that the outer membrane lipoprotein, Lpp, of Enterobacteriaceae interacts with and promotes susceptibility to the bactericidal activities of AMPs. The oligomeric Lpp was specifically recognized by several cationic ?-helical AMPs, including SMAP-29, CAP-18, and LL-37; AMP-mediated bactericidal activities were blocked by anti-Lpp antibody blocking. Blebbing of the outer membrane and increase in membrane permeability occurred in association with the coordinate internalization of Lpp and AMP. Interestingly, the specific binding of AMP to Lpp was resistant to divalent cations and salts, which were able to inhibit the bactericidal activities of some AMPs. Furthermore, using His-tagged Lpp as a ligand, we retrieved several characterized AMPs, including SMAP-29 and hRNase 7, from a peptide library containing crude mammalian cell lysates. Overall, this study explores a new mechanism and target of antimicrobial activity and provides a novel method for screening of antimicrobials for use against drug-resistant bacteria.