Antimicrobial peptides with selective antitumor mechanisms: prospect for anticancer applications.
ABSTRACT: 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:Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), or host defense peptides, are small cationic or amphipathic molecules produced by prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms that play a key role in the innate immune defense against viruses, bacteria and fungi. AMPs have either antimicrobial or anticancer activities. Indeed, cationic AMPs are able to disrupt microbial cell membranes by interacting with negatively charged phospholipids. Moreover, several peptides are capable to trigger cytotoxicity of human cancer cells by binding to negatively charged phosphatidylserine moieties which are selectively exposed on the outer surface of cancer cell plasma membranes. In addition, some AMPs, such as LTX-315, have shown to induce release of tumor antigens and potent damage associated molecular patterns by causing alterations in the intracellular organelles of cancer cells. Given the recognized medical need of novel anticancer drugs, AMPs could represent a potential source of effective therapeutic agents, either alone or in combination with other small molecules, in oncology. In this review we summarize and describe the properties and the mode of action of AMPs as well as the strategies to increase their selectivity toward specific cancer cells.
Project description:Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) constitute a diverse group of bioactive molecules that provide multicellular organisms with protection against microorganisms, and microorganisms with weaponry for competition. Some AMPs can target cancer cells; thus, they are called anticancer peptides (ACPs). Due to their small size, positive charge, hydrophobicity and amphipathicity, AMPs and ACPs interact with negatively charged components of biological membranes. AMPs preferentially permeabilize microbial membranes, but ACPs additionally target mitochondrial and plasma membranes of cancer cells. The preference towards mitochondrial membranes is explained by their membrane potential, membrane composition resulting from ?-proteobacterial origin and the fact that mitochondrial targeting signals could have evolved from AMPs. Taking into account the therapeutic potential of ACPs and millions of deaths due to cancer annually, it is of vital importance to find new cationic peptides that selectively destroy cancer cells. Therefore, to reduce the costs of experimental research, we have created a robust computational tool, CancerGram, that uses n-grams and random forests for predicting ACPs. Compared to other ACP classifiers, CancerGram is the first three-class model that effectively classifies peptides into: ACPs, AMPs and non-ACPs/non-AMPs, with AU1U amounting to 0.89 and a Kappa statistic of 0.65. CancerGram is available as a web server and R package on GitHub.
Project description:Nowadays, the bacterial drug resistance leads to serious healthy problem worldwide due to the long-term use and the abuse of traditional antibiotics result in drug resistance of bacteria. Finding a new antibiotic is becoming more and more difficult. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are the host defense peptides with most of them being the cationic (positively charged) and amphiphilic (hydrophilic and hydrophobic) ?-helical peptide molecules. The membrane permeability is mostly recognized as the well-accepted mechanism to describe the action of cationic AMPs. These cationic AMPs can bind and interact with the negatively charged bacterial cell membranes, leading to the change of the electrochemical potential on bacterial cell membranes, inducing cell membrane damage and the permeation of larger molecules such as proteins, destroying cell morphology and membranes and eventually resulting in cell death. These AMPs have been demonstrated to have their own advantages over the traditional antibiotics with a broad-spectrum of antimicrobial activities including anti-bacteria, anti-fungi, anti-viruses, and anti-cancers, and even overcome bacterial drug-resistance. The natural AMPs exist in a variety of organisms and are not stable with a short half-life, more or less toxic side effects, and particularly may have severe hemolytic activity. To open the clinical applications, it is necessary and important to develop the synthetic and long-lasting AMP analogs that overcome the disadvantages of their natural peptides and the potential problems for the drug candidates.
Project description:Several cationic antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) have recently been shown to display anticancer activity via a mechanism that usually entails the disruption of cancer cell membranes. In this work, we designed an 18-residue anticancer peptide, SVS-1, whose mechanism of action is designed to take advantage of the aberrant lipid composition presented on the outer leaflet of cancer cell membranes, which makes the surface of these cells electronegative relative to the surface of noncancerous cells. SVS-1 is designed to remain unfolded and inactive in aqueous solution but to preferentially fold at the surface of cancer cells, adopting an amphiphilic ?-hairpin structure capable of membrane disruption. Membrane-induced folding is driven by electrostatic interaction between the peptide and the negatively charged membrane surface of cancer cells. SVS-1 is active against a variety of cancer cell lines such as A549 (lung carcinoma), KB (epidermal carcinoma), MCF-7 (breast carcinoma), and MDA-MB-436 (breast carcinoma). However, the cytotoxicity toward noncancerous cells having typical membrane compositions, such as HUVEC and erythrocytes, is low. CD spectroscopy, appropriately designed peptide controls, cell-based studies, liposome leakage assays, and electron microscopy support the intended mechanism of action, which leads to preferential killing of cancerous cells.
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:?-Helical antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) generally have facially amphiphilic structures that may lead to undesired peptide interactions with blood proteins and self-aggregation due to exposed hydrophobic surfaces. Here we report the design of a class of cationic, helical homo-polypeptide antimicrobials with a hydrophobic internal helical core and a charged exterior shell, possessing unprecedented radial amphiphilicity. The radially amphiphilic structure enables the polypeptide to bind effectively to the negatively charged bacterial surface and exhibit high antimicrobial activity against both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. Moreover, the shielding of the hydrophobic core by the charged exterior shell decreases nonspecific interactions with eukaryotic cells, as evidenced by low hemolytic activity, and protects the polypeptide backbone from proteolytic degradation. The radially amphiphilic polypeptides can also be used as effective adjuvants, allowing improved permeation of commercial antibiotics in bacteria and enhanced antimicrobial activity by one to two orders of magnitude. Designing AMPs bearing this unprecedented, unique radially amphiphilic structure represents an alternative direction of AMP development; radially amphiphilic polypeptides may become a general platform for developing AMPs to treat drug-resistant bacteria.
Project description:Host defense cationic Antimicrobial Peptides (AMPs) can kill microorganisms including bacteria, viruses and fungi using various modes of action. The negatively charged bacterial membranes serve as a key target for many AMPs. Bacterial cell death by membrane permeabilization has been well perceived. A number of cationic AMPs kill bacteria by cell agglutination which is a distinctly different mode of action compared to membrane pore formation. However, mechanism of cell agglutinating AMPs is poorly understood. The outer membrane lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or the cell-wall peptidoglycans are targeted by AMPs as a key step in agglutination process. Here, we report the first atomic-resolution structure of thanatin, a cell agglutinating AMP, in complex with LPS micelle by solution NMR. The structure of thanatin in complex with LPS, revealed four stranded antiparallel ?-sheet in a 'head-tail' dimeric topology. By contrast, thanatin in free solution assumed an antiparallel ?-hairpin conformation. Dimeric structure of thanatin displayed higher hydrophobicity and cationicity with sites of LPS interactions. MD simulations and biophysical interactions analyses provided mode of LPS recognition and perturbation of LPS micelle structures. Mechanistic insights of bacterial cell agglutination obtained in this study can be utilized to develop antibiotics of alternative mode of action.
Project description:Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are key components of the innate immune response and represent promising templates for the development of broad-spectrum alternatives to conventional antibiotics. Most AMPs are short, cationic peptides that interact more strongly with negatively charged prokaryotic membranes than net neutral eukaryotic ones. Both AMPs and synthetic analogues with arginine-like side chains are more active against bacteria than those with lysine-like amine groups, though the atomistic mechanism for this increase in potency remains unclear. To examine this, we conducted comparative molecular dynamics simulations of a model negatively-charged membrane system interacting with two mutants of the AMP KR-12: one with lysine residues mutated to arginines (R-KR12) and one with arginine residues mutated to lysine (K-KR12). Simulations show that both partition analogously to the bilayer and display similar preferences for hydrogen bonding with the anionic POPGs. However, R-KR12 binds stronger to the bilayer than K-KR12 and forms significantly more hydrogen bonds, leading to considerably longer interaction times. Additional simulations with methylated R-KR12 and charge-modified K-KR12 mutants show that the extensive interaction seen in the R-KR12 system is partly due to arginine's strong atomic charge distribution, rather than being purely an effect of the greater number of hydrogen bond donors. Finally, free energy simulations reveal that both peptides are disordered in solution but form an amphipathic ?-helix when inserted into the bilayer headgroup region. Overall, these results highlight the role of charge and hydrogen bond strength in peptide bilayer insertion, and offer potential insights for designing more potent analogues in the future.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Sustained exposure to ambient particulate matter (PM) is a global cause of mortality. Coal fly ash (CFA) is a byproduct of coal combustion and is a source of anthropogenic PM with worldwide health relevance. The airway epithelia are lined with fluid called airway surface liquid (ASL), which contains antimicrobial proteins and peptides (AMPs). Cationic AMPs bind negatively charged bacteria to exert their antimicrobial activity. PM arriving in the airways could potentially interact with AMPs in the ASL to affect their antimicrobial activity. OBJECTIVES:We hypothesized that PM can interact with ASL AMPs to impair their antimicrobial activity. METHODS:We exposed pig and human airway explants, pig and human ASL, and the human cationic AMPs ?-defensin-3, LL-37, and lysozyme to CFA or control. Thereafter, we assessed the antimicrobial activity of exposed airway samples using both bioluminescence and standard colony-forming unit assays. We investigated PM-AMP electrostatic interaction by attenuated total reflection Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy and measuring the zeta potential. We also studied the adsorption of AMPs on PM. RESULTS:We found increased bacterial survival in CFA-exposed airway explants, ASL, and AMPs. In addition, we report that PM with a negative surface charge can adsorb cationic AMPs and form negative particle-protein complexes. CONCLUSION:We propose that when CFA arrives at the airway, it rapidly adsorbs AMPs and creates negative complexes, thereby decreasing the functional amount of AMPs capable of killing pathogens. These results provide a novel translational insight into an early mechanism for how ambient PM increases the susceptibility of the airways to bacterial infection. https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP876.
Project description:In this study, to systematically investigate the targeting specificity of membrane-active peptides on different types of cell membranes, we evaluated the effects of peptides on different large unilamellar vesicles mimicking prokaryotic, normal eukaryotic, and cancer cell membranes by single-molecule force spectroscopy and spectrum technology. We revealed that cationic membrane-active peptides can exclusively target negatively charged prokaryotic and cancer cell model membranes rather than normal eukaryotic cell model membranes. Using Acholeplasma laidlawii, 3T3-L1, and HeLa cells to represent prokaryotic cells, normal eukaryotic cells, and cancer cells in atomic force microscopy experiments, respectively, we further studied that the single-molecule targeting interaction between peptides and biological membranes. Antimicrobial and anticancer activities of peptides exhibited strong correlations with the interaction probability determined by single-molecule force spectroscopy, which illustrates strong correlations of peptide biological activities and peptide hydrophobicity and charge. Peptide specificity significantly depends on the lipid compositions of different cell membranes, which validates the de novo design of peptide therapeutics against bacteria and cancers.