Cyclotide structure-activity relationships: qualitative and quantitative approaches linking cytotoxic and anthelmintic activity to the clustering of physicochemical forces.
ABSTRACT: Cyclotides are a family of plant-derived proteins that are characterized by a cyclic backbone and a knotted disulfide topology. Their cyclic cystine knot (CCK) motif makes them exceptionally resistant to thermal, chemical, and enzymatic degradation. Cyclotides exert much of their biological activity via interactions with cell membranes. In this work, we qualitatively and quantitatively analyze the cytotoxic and anthelmintic membrane activities of cyclotides. The qualitative and quantitative models describe the potency of cyclotides using four simple physicochemical terms relevant to membrane contact. Specifically, surface areas of the cyclotides representing lipophilic and hydrogen bond donating properties were quantified and their distribution across the molecular surface was determined. The resulting quantitative structure-activity relation (QSAR) models suggest that the activity of the cyclotides is proportional to their lipophilic and positively charged surface areas, provided that the distribution of these surfaces is asymmetric. In addition, we qualitatively analyzed the physicochemical differences between the various cyclotide subfamilies and their effects on the cyclotides' orientation on the membrane and membrane activity.
Project description:Cyclotides are bioactive cyclic peptides isolated from plants that are characterized by a topologically complex structure and exceptional resistance to enzymatic or thermal degradation. With their sequence diversity, ultra-stable core structural motif, and range of bioactivities, cyclotides are regarded as a combinatorial peptide template with potential applications in drug design. The mode of action of cyclotides remains elusive, but all reported biological activities are consistent with a mechanism involving membrane interactions. In this study, a diverse set of cyclotides from the two major subfamilies, Möbius and bracelet, and an all-d mirror image form, were examined to determine their mode of action. Their lipid selectivity and membrane affinity were determined, as were their toxicities against a range of targets (red blood cells, bacteria, and HIV particles). Although they had different membrane-binding affinities, all of the tested cyclotides targeted membranes through binding to phospholipids containing phosphatidylethanolamine headgroups. Furthermore, the biological potency of the tested cyclotides broadly correlated with their ability to target and disrupt cell membranes. The finding that a broad range of cyclotides target a specific lipid suggests their categorization as a new lipid-binding protein family. Knowledge of their membrane specificity has the potential to assist in the design of novel drugs based on the cyclotide framework, perhaps allowing the targeting of peptide drugs to specific cell types.
Project description:Cyclotides are cyclic peptides produced by plants. Due to their insecticidal properties, they are thought to be involved in host defense. Violets produce complex mixtures of cyclotides, that are characteristic for each species and variable in different environments. Herein, we utilized mass spectrometry (LC-MS, MALDI-MS), transcriptomics and biological assays to investigate the diversity, differences in cyclotide expression based on species and different environment, and antimicrobial activity of cyclotides found in violets from the Canary Islands. A wide range of different habitats can be found on these islands, from subtropical forests to dry volcano peaks at high altitudes. The islands are inhabited by the endemic Viola palmensis, V. cheiranthifolia, V. anagae and the common V. odorata. The number of cyclotides produced by a given species varied in plants from different environments. The highest diversity was noted in V. anagae which resides in subtropical forest and the lowest in V. cheiranthifolia from the Teide volcano. Transcriptome sequencing and LC-MS were used to identify 23 cyclotide sequences from V. anagae. Cyclotide extracts exhibited antifungal activities with the lowest minimal inhibitory concentrations noted for V. anagae (15.62 μg/ml against Fusarium culmorum). The analysis of the relative abundance of 30 selected cyclotides revealed patterns characteristic to both species and populations, which can be the result of genetic variability or environmental conditions in different habitats. The current study exemplifies how plants tailor their host defense peptides for various habitats, and the usefulness of cyclotides as markers for chemosystematics.
Project description:Cyclotides are plant-derived peptides characterized by an ∼30-amino acid-long cyclic backbone and a cystine knot motif. Cyclotides have diverse bioactivities, and their cytotoxicity has attracted significant attention for its potential anticancer applications. <i>Hybanthus enneaspermus</i> (Linn) F. Muell is a medicinal herb widely used in India as a libido enhancer, and a previous study has reported that it may contain cyclotides. In the current study, we isolated 11 novel cyclotides and 1 known cyclotide (cycloviolacin O2) from <i>H. enneaspermus</i> and used tandem MS to determine their amino acid sequences. We found that among these cyclotides, hyen C comprises a unique sequence in loops 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6 compared with known cyclotides. The most abundant cyclotide in this plant, hyen D, had anticancer activity comparable to that of cycloviolacin O2, one of the most cytotoxic known cyclotides. We also provide mechanistic insights into how these novel cyclotides interact with and permeabilize cell membranes. Results from surface plasmon resonance experiments revealed that hyen D, E, L, and M and cycloviolacin O2 preferentially interact with model lipid membranes that contain phospholipids with phosphatidyl-ethanolamine headgroups. The results of a lactate dehydrogenase assay indicated that exposure to these cyclotides compromises cell membrane integrity. Using live-cell imaging, we show that hyen D induces rapid membrane blebbing and cell necrosis. Cyclotide-membrane interactions correlated with the observed cytotoxicity, suggesting that membrane permeabilization and disintegration underpin cyclotide cytotoxicity. These findings broaden our knowledge on the indigenous Indian herb <i>H. enneaspermus</i> and have uncovered cyclotides with potential anticancer activity.
Project description:Cyclotides are a family of macrocyclic peptides that combine the unique features of a head-to-tail cyclic backbone and a cystine knot motif, the combination of which imparts them with extraordinary stability. The prototypic cyclotide kalata B1 is toxic against two economically important gastrointestinal nematode parasites of sheep, Haemonchus contortus and Trichostrongylus colubriformis. A lysine scan was conducted to examine the effect of the incorporation of positive charges into the kalata B1 cyclotide framework. Each of the non-cysteine residues in this 29-amino acid peptide was successively substituted with lysine, and the nematocidal and hemolytic activities of the suite of mutants were determined. Substitution of 11 residues within kalata B1 decreased the nematocidal activity dramatically. On the other hand, six other residues that are clustered on the surface of kalata B1 were tolerant to Lys substitution, and indeed the introduction of positively charged residues into this region increased nematocidal activity. This activity was increased further in double and triple lysine mutants, with a maximal increase (relative to the native kalata B1) of 13-fold obtained with a triple lysine mutant (mutated at positions Thr-20, Asn-29, and Gly-1). Hemolytic activity correlated with the nematocidal activity of all lysine mutants. Our data clearly highlight the residues crucial for nematocidal and hemolytic activity in cyclotides, and demonstrate that the nematocidal activity of cyclotides can be increased by incorporation of basic amino acids.
Project description:Cyclotides are a family of plant proteins that are characterized by a cyclic backbone and a knotted disulfide topology. Their cyclic cystine knot (CCK) motif makes them exceptionally resistant to thermal, chemical, and enzymatic degradation. By disrupting cell membranes, the cyclotides function as host defense peptides by exhibiting insecticidal, anthelmintic, antifouling, and molluscicidal activities. In this work, we provide the first insight into the evolution of this family of plant proteins by studying the Violaceae, in particular species of the genus Viola. We discovered 157 novel precursor sequences by the transcriptomic analysis of six Viola species: V. albida var. takahashii, V. mandshurica, V. orientalis, V. verecunda, V. acuminata, and V. canadensis. By combining these precursor sequences with the phylogenetic classification of Viola, we infer the distribution of cyclotides across 63% of the species in the genus (i.e., ~380 species). Using full precursor sequences from transcriptomes, we show an evolutionary link to the structural diversity of the cyclotides, and further classify the cyclotides by sequence signatures from the non-cyclotide domain. Also, transcriptomes were compared to cyclotide expression on a peptide level determined using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. Furthermore, the novel cyclotides discovered were associated with the emergence of new biological functions.
Project description:Cyclotides are a family of plant-derived cyclic peptides comprising six conserved cysteine residues connected by three intermolecular disulfide bonds that form a knotted structure known as a cyclic cystine knot (CCK). This structural motif is responsible for the pronounced stability of cyclotides against chemical, thermal, or proteolytic degradation and has sparked growing interest in this family of peptides. Here, we isolated and characterized a novel cyclotide from Palicourea rigida (Rubiaceae), which was named parigidin-br1. The sequence indicated that this peptide is a member of the bracelet subfamily of cyclotides. Parigidin-br1 showed potent insecticidal activity against neonate larvae of Lepidoptera (Diatraea saccharalis), causing 60% mortality at a concentration of 1 ?m but had no detectable antibacterial effects. A decrease in the in vitro viability of the insect cell line from Spodoptera frugiperda (SF-9) was observed in the presence of parigidin-br1, consistent with in vivo insecticidal activity. Transmission electron microscopy and fluorescence microscopy of SF-9 cells after incubation with parigidin-br1 or parigidin-br1-fluorescein isothiocyanate, respectively, revealed extensive cell lysis and swelling of cells, consistent with an insecticidal mechanism involving membrane disruption. This hypothesis was supported by in silico analyses, which suggested that parigidin-br1 is able to complex with cell lipids. Overall, the results suggest promise for the development of parigidin-br1 as a novel biopesticide.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Cyclotides are a family of circular peptides that exhibit a range of biological activities, including anti-bacterial, cytotoxic, anti-HIV activities, and are proposed to function in plant defence. Their high stability has motivated their development as scaffolds for the stabilisation of peptide drugs. Oldenlandia affinis is a member of the Rubiaceae (coffee) family from which 18 cyclotides have been sequenced to date, but the details of their processing from precursor proteins have only begun to be elucidated. To increase the speed at which genes involved in cyclotide biosynthesis and processing are being discovered, an expressed sequence tag (EST) project was initiated to survey the transcript profile of O. affinis and to propose some future directions of research on in vivo protein cyclisation. RESULTS: Using flow cytometry the holoploid genome size (1C-value) of O. affinis was estimated to be 4,210 - 4,284 Mbp, one of the largest genomes of the Rubiaceae family. High-quality ESTs were identified, 1,117 in total, from leaf cDNAs and assembled into 502 contigs, comprising 202 consensus sequences and 300 singletons. ESTs encoding the cyclotide precursors for kalata B1 (Oak1) and kalata B2 (Oak4) were among the 20 most abundant ESTs. In total, 31 ESTs encoded cyclotide precursors, representing a distinct commitment of 2.8% of the O. affinis transcriptome to cyclotide biosynthesis. The high expression levels of cyclotide precursor transcripts are consistent with the abundance of mature cyclic peptides in O. affinis. A new cyclotide precursor named Oak5 was isolated and represents the first cDNA for the bracelet class of cyclotides in O. affinis. Clones encoding enzymes potentially involved in processing cyclotides were also identified and include enzymes involved in oxidative folding and proteolytic processing. CONCLUSION: The EST library generated in this study provides a valuable resource for the study of the cyclisation of plant peptides. Further analysis of the candidates for cyclotide processing discovered in this work will increase our understanding and aid in reconstructing cyclotide production using transgenic systems and will benefit their development in pharmaceutical applications and insect-resistant crop plants.
Project description:Cyclotides are a family of triple disulfide cyclic peptides with exceptional resistance to thermal/chemical denaturation and enzymatic degradation. Several cyclotides have been shown to possess anti-HIV activity, including kalata B1 (KB1). However, the use of cyclotides as anti-HIV therapies remains limited due to the high toxicity in normal cells. Therefore, grafting anti-HIV epitopes onto a cyclotide might be a promising approach for reducing toxicity and simultaneously improving anti-HIV activity. Viral envelope glycoprotein gp120 is required for entry of HIV into CD4+ T cells. However, due to a high degree of variability and physical shielding, the design of drugs targeting gp120 remains challenging. We created a computational protocol in which molecular modeling techniques were combined with a genetic algorithm (GA) to automate the design of new cyclotides with improved binding to HIV gp120. We found that the group of modified cyclotides has better binding scores (23.1%) compared to the KB1. By using molecular dynamic (MD) simulation as a post filter for the final candidates, we identified two novel cyclotides, GA763 and GA190, which exhibited better interaction energies (36.6% and 22.8%, respectively) when binding to gp120 compared to KB1. This computational design represents an alternative tool for modifying peptides, including cyclotides and other stable peptides, as therapeutic agents before the synthesis process.
Project description:Cyclotides are ultra-stable cyclic disulfide-rich peptides from plants. Their biophysical effects and medically interesting activities are related to their membrane-binding properties, with particularly high affinity for phosphatidylethanolamine lipids. In this study we were interested in understanding the molecular details of cyclotide-membrane interactions, specifically with regard to the spatial orientation of the cyclotide kalata B1 from Oldenlandia affinis when embedded in a lipid bilayer. Our experimental approach was based on the use of solid-state 19F-NMR of oriented bilayers in conjunction with the conformationally restricted amino acid L-3-(trifluoromethyl)bicyclopent-[1.1.1]-1-ylglycine as an orientation-sensitive 19F-NMR probe. Its rigid connection to the kalata B1 backbone scaffold, together with the well-defined structure of the cyclotide, allowed us to calculate the protein alignment in the membrane directly from the orientation-sensitive 19F-NMR signal. The hydrophobic and polar residues on the surface of kalata B1 form well-separated patches, endowing this cyclotide with a pronounced amphipathicity. The peptide orientation, as determined by NMR, showed that this amphipathic structure matches the polar/apolar interface of the lipid bilayer very well. A location in the amphiphilic headgroup region of the bilayer was supported by 15N-NMR of uniformly labeled protein, and confirmed using solid-state 31P- and 2H-NMR. 31P-NMR relaxation data indicated a change in lipid headgroup dynamics induced by kalata B1. Changes in the 2H-NMR order parameter profile of the acyl chains suggest membrane thinning, as typically observed for amphiphilic peptides embedded near the polar/apolar bilayer interface. Furthermore, from the 19F-NMR analysis two important charged residues, E7 and R28, were found to be positioned equatorially. The observed location thus would be favorable for the postulated binding of E7 to phosphatidylethanolamine lipid headgroups. Furthermore, it may be speculated that this pair of side chains could promote oligomerization of kalata B1 through electrostatic intermolecular contacts via their complementary charges.
Project description:Cyclotides are cyclic proteins produced by plants for defense against pests. Because of their remarkable stability and diverse bioactivities, they have a range of potential therapeutic applications. The bioactivities of cyclotides are believed to be mediated through membrane interactions. To determine the structural basis for the biological activity of the two major subfamilies of cyclotides, we determined the conformation and orientation of kalata B2 (kB2), a Möbius cyclotide, and cycloviolacin O2 (cO2), a bracelet cyclotide, bound to dodecylphosphocholine micelles, using NMR spectroscopy in the presence and absence of 5- and 16-doxylstearate relaxation probes. Analysis of binding curves using the Langmuir isotherm indicated that cO2 and kB2 have association constants of 7.0 x 10(3) M(-1) and 6.0 x 10(3) M(-1), respectively, consistent with the notion that they are bound near the surface, rather than buried deeply within the micelle. This suggestion is supported by the selective broadening of micelle-bound cyclotide NMR signals upon addition of paramagnetic Mn ions. The cyclotides from the different subfamilies exhibited clearly different binding orientations at the micelle surface. Structural analysis of cO2 confirmed that the main element of the secondary structure is a beta-hairpin centered in loop 5. A small helical turn is present in loop 3. Analysis of the surface profile of cO2 shows that a hydrophobic patch stretches over loops 2 and 3, in contrast to the hydrophobic patch of kB2, which predominantly involves loops 2 and 5. The different location of the hydrophobic patches in the two cyclotides explains their different binding orientations and provides an insight into the biological activities of cyclotides.