Antimicrobial activity of a porphyrin binding peptide.
ABSTRACT: Amphiphilic alpha-helices are common motifs used in numerous biological systems including membrane channels/pores and antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), and binding proteins, and a variety of synthetic biomaterials. Previously, an amphiphilic peptide with lysine-containing motifs was shown to reversibly bind the anionic porphyrin meso-Tetra(4-sulfonatophenyl)porphyrin (TPPS4 2-) and promote the formation of excitonically coupled conductive J-aggregates. The work presented here focuses on the use of this amphiphilic peptide and derivatives as a potential antimicrobial agent. AMPs are naturally occurring components of the innate immune system, which selectively target and kill bacteria. Sequence derivatives were synthesized in which the position of the Trp, used as a fluorescence reporter, was changed. Additional variants were synthesized where the hydrophobic amino acids were replaced with Ala to reduce net hydrophobicity or where the cationic Lys residues were replaced with diaminopropionic acid (Dap). All peptide sequences retained the ability to bind TPPS4 2- and promote the formation of J-aggregates. The peptides all exhibited a preference for binding anionic lipid vesicles compared to zwitterionic bilayers. The Trp position did not impact antimicrobial activity, but the substituted peptides exhibited markedly lower efficacy. The Dap-containing peptide was only active against E. coli and P. aeruginosa, while the Ala-substituted peptide was inactive at the concentrations tested. This trend was also evident in bacterial membrane permeabilization. The results indicate that the amphiphilic porphyrin binding peptides can also be used as antimicrobial peptides. The cationic nature is a driver in binding to lipid bilayers, but the overall hydrophobicity is important for antimicrobial activity and membrane disruption.
Project description:Biomimetic antibacterial polymers, the functional mimics of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), targeting the bacterial cell membrane have been developed to combat the problem of antibiotic resistance. Amphiphilicity, a balance of cationic charge and hydrophobicity, in these polymers has been shown to be pivotal for their selective interactions with anionic lipid membranes of bacteria instead of zwitterionic mammalian (human erythrocyte) membranes. However, it is unclear if and to what extent hydrogen bonding in amphiphilic antibacterial polymers contributes to this membrane binding specificity. To address this, we employ isosteric substitution of ester with amide moieties that differ in their potency for hydrogen bonding in the side chains of N-alkyl maleimide based amphiphilic polymers. Our studies reveal that amide polymer (AC3P) is a potent antibacterial agent with high membrane-disrupting properties compared to its ester counterpart (EC3P). To understand these differences we performed bio-physical experiments and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations which showed strong interactions of AC3P including hydrogen bonding with lipid head groups of bacterial model lipid bilayers, that are absent in EC3P, make them selective for bacterial membranes. Mechanistic investigations of these polymers in bacteria revealed specific membrane disruptive activity leading to the delocalization of cell division related proteins. This unprecedented and unique concept provides an understanding of bacterial membrane interactions highlighting the role of hydrogen bonding. Thus, these findings will have significant implications in efficient design of potent membrane-active agents.
Project description:The continued emergence of new antibiotic resistant bacterial strains has resulted in great interest in the development of new antimicrobial treatments. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are one of many potential classes of molecules to help meet this emerging need. AMPs are naturally derived sequences, which act as part of the innate immune system of organisms ranging from insects through humans. We investigated the antimicrobial peptide AP3, which is originally isolated from the winter flounder Pleuronectes americanus. This peptide is of specific interest because it does not exhibit the canonical facially amphiphilic orientation of side chains when in a helical orientation. Different analogs of AP3 were synthesized in which length, charge identity, and Trp position were varied to investigate the sequence-structure and activity relationship. We performed biophysical and microbiological characterization using fluorescence spectroscopy, CD spectroscopy, vesicle leakage assays, bacterial membrane permeabilization assays, and minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) assays. Fluorescence spectroscopy showed that the peptides bind to lipid bilayers to similar extents, while CD spectra show the peptides adopt helical conformations. All five peptides tested in this study exhibited binding to model lipid membranes, while the truncated peptides showed no measurable antimicrobial activity. The most active peptide proved to be the parent peptide AP3 with the highest degree of leakage and bacterial membrane permeabilization. Moreover, it was found that the ability to permeabilize model and bacterial membranes correlated most closely with the ability to predict antimicrobial activity.
Project description:The emergence and worldwide spread of multi-drug resistant bacteria makes an urgent challenge for the development of novel antibacterial agents. A perspective weapon to fight against severe infections caused by drug-resistant microorganisms is antimicrobial peptides (AMPs). AMPs are a diverse class of naturally occurring molecules that are produced as a first line of defense by all multi-cellular organisms. Limited by the number of experimental determinate 3D structure, most of the prediction or classification methods of AMPs were based on 2D descriptors, including sequence, amino acid composition, peptide net charge, hydrophobicity, amphiphilic, etc. Due to the rapid development of structural simulation methods, predicted models of proteins (or peptides) have been successfully applied in structure based drug design, for example as targets of virtual ligand screening. Here, we establish the activity prediction model based on the predicted 3D structure of AMPs molecule. To our knowledge, it is the first report of prediction method based on 3D descriptors of AMPs. Novel AMPs were designed by using the model, and their antibacterial effect was measured by in vitro experiments.
Project description:Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) act as host defenses against microbial pathogens. Here we investigate the interactions of SVS-1 (KVKVKVKVdPlPTKVKVKVK), an engineered AMP and anti-cancer ?-hairpin peptide, with lipid bilayers using spectroscopic studies and atomistic molecular dynamics simulations. In agreement with literature reports, simulation and experiment show preferential binding of SVS-1 peptides to anionic over neutral bilayers. Fluorescence and circular dichroism studies of a Trp-substituted SVS-1 analogue indicate, however, that it will bind to a zwitterionic DPPC bilayer under high-curvature conditions and folds into a hairpin. In bilayers formed from a 1:1 mixture of DPPC and anionic DPPG lipids, curvature and lipid fluidity are also observed to promote deeper insertion of the fluorescent peptide. Simulations using the CHARMM C36m force field offer complementary insight into timescales and mechanisms of folding and insertion. SVS-1 simulated at an anionic mixed POPC/POPG bilayer folded into a hairpin over a microsecond, the final stage in folding coinciding with the establishment of contact between the peptide's valine sidechains and the lipid tails through a "flip and dip" mechanism. Partial, transient folding and superficial bilayer contact are seen in simulation of the peptide at a zwitterionic POPC bilayer. Only when external surface tension is applied does the peptide establish lasting contact with the POPC bilayer. Our findings reveal the influence of disruption to lipid headgroup packing (via curvature or surface tension) on the pathway of binding and insertion, highlighting the collaborative effort of electrostatic and hydrophobic interactions on interaction of SVS-1 with lipid bilayers.
Project description:Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are an emerging class of antibiotics for controlling health effects of antibiotic-resistant microbial strains. Protegrin-1 (PG-1) is a model antibiotic among beta-sheet AMPs. Antibiotic activity of AMPs involves cell membrane damage, yet their membrane interactions, their 3D membrane-associated structures and the mechanism underlying their ability to disrupt cell membrane are poorly understood. Using complementary approaches, including molecular dynamics simulations, atomic force microscopy (AFM) imaging, and planar lipid bilayer reconstitution, we provide computational and experimental evidence that PG-1, a beta-hairpin peptide, forms ion channels. Simulations indicate that PG-1 forms channel-like structures with loosely attached subunits when reconstituted in anionic lipid bilayers. AFM images show the presence of channel-like structures when PG-1 is reconstituted in dioleoylphosphatidylserine/palmitoyloleoyl phosphatidylethanolamine bilayers or added to preformed bilayers. Planar lipid bilayer electrical recordings show multiple single channel conductances that are consistent with the heterogeneous oligomeric channel structures seen in AFM images. PG-1 channel formation seems to be lipid-dependent: PG-1 does not easily show ion channel electrical activity in phosphatidylcholine membranes, but readily shows channel activity in membranes rich in phosphatidylethanolamine or phosphatidylserine. The combined results support a model wherein the beta-hairpin PG-1 peptide acts as an antibiotic by altering cell ionic homeostasis through ion channel formation in cell membranes.
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. Previous work showed that when Histidine was incorporated into the peptide C18G it lost antimicrobial activity. The role of pH on activity and biophysical properties of the peptide was investigated to explain this phenomenon. Minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) results demonstrated that decreased media pH increased antimicrobial activity. Trichloroethanol (TCE) quenching and red-edge excitation spectroscopy (REES) showed a clear pH dependence on peptide aggregation in solution. Trp fluorescence was used to monitor binding to lipid vesicles and demonstrated the peptide binds to anionic bilayers at all pH values tested, however, binding to zwitterionic bilayers was enhanced at pH?7 and 8 (above the His pKa). Dual Quencher Analysis (DQA) confirmed the peptide inserted more deeply in PC:PG and PE:PG membranes, but could insert into PC bilayers at pH conditions above the His pKa. Bacterial membrane permeabilization assays which showed enhanced membrane permeabilization at pH?5 and 6 but vesicle leakage assays indicate enhanced permeabilization of PC and PC:PG bilayers at neutral pH. The results indicate the ionization of the His side chain affects the aggregation state of the peptide in solution and the conformation the peptide adopts when bound to bilayers, but there are likely more subtle influences of lipid composition and properties that impact the ability of the peptide to form pores in membranes.
Project description:The rapid spread of multi-drug resistant pathogens represents a serious threat to public health, considering factors such as high mortality rates, treatment restrictions and high prevalence of multi-drug resistant bacteria in the hospital environment. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) may exhibit powerful antimicrobial activity against different and diverse microorganisms, also presenting the advantage of absence or low toxicity towards animal cells. In this study, the evaluation of the antimicrobial activity against multi-drug resistant bacteria of a recently described AMP from wasp, Polydim-I, was performed. Polydim-I presented activity against standard strains (non-carriers of multi-resistant genes) that are susceptible to commercial antimicrobials, and also against multi-drug resistant strains at concentrations bellow 1?g/ml (0.41 ?M). This is a rather low concentration among those reported for AMPs. At this concentration we found out that Polydim-I inhibits almost 100% of the tested pathogens growth, while with the ATCC strains the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC100) is 400 times higher. Also, in relation to in vitro activity of conventional drugs against multi-drug resistant bacteria strains, Polydim-I is almost 10 times more efficient and with broader spectrum. Cationic AMPs are known as multi-target compounds and specially for targeting the phospholipid matrix of bacterial membranes. Exploring the interactions of Polydim-I with lipid bilayers, we have confirmed that this interaction is involved in the mechanism of action. Circular dichroism experiments showed that Polydim-I undergoes a conformational transition from random coil to a mostly helical conformation in the presence of membrane mimetic environments. Zeta potential measurements confirmed the binding and partial charge neutralization of anionic asolectin vesicles, and also suggested a possible aggregation of peptide molecules. FTIR experiments confirmed that some peptide aggregation occurs, which is minimized in the presence of strongly anionic micelles of sodium dodecyl sulfate. Also, Polydim-I induced channel-like structures formation to asolectin lipid bilayers, as demonstrated in the electrophysiology experiments. We suggest that cationic Polydim-I targets the membrane lipids due to electrostatic attraction, partially accumulates, neutralizing the opposite charges and induces pore formation. Similar mechanism of action has already been suggested for other peptides from wasp venoms, especially mastoparans.
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:Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) constitute promising alternatives to classical antibiotics for the treatment of drug-resistant infections, which are a rapidly emerging global health challenge. However, our understanding of the structure-function relationships of AMPs is limited, and we are just beginning to rationally engineer peptides in order to develop them as therapeutics. Here, we leverage a physicochemical-guided peptide design strategy to identify specific functional hotspots in the wasp-derived AMP polybia-CP and turn this toxic peptide into a viable antimicrobial. Helical fraction, hydrophobicity, and hydrophobic moment are identified as key structural and physicochemical determinants of antimicrobial activity, utilized in combination with rational engineering to generate synthetic AMPs with therapeutic activity in a mouse model. We demonstrate that, by tuning these physicochemical parameters, it is possible to design nontoxic synthetic peptides with enhanced sub-micromolar antimicrobial potency in vitro and anti-infective activity in vivo. We present a physicochemical-guided rational design strategy to generate peptide antibiotics.
Project description:Dermcidin encodes the anionic amphiphilic peptide DCD-1L, which displays a broad spectrum of antimicrobial activity under conditions resembling those in human sweat. Here, we have investigated its mode of antimicrobial activity. We found that DCD-1L interacts preferentially with negatively charged bacterial phospholipids with a helix axis that is aligned flat on a lipid bilayer surface. Upon interaction with lipid bilayers DCD-1L forms oligomeric complexes that are stabilized by Zn(2+). DCD-1L is able to form ion channels in the bacterial membrane, and we propose that Zn(2+)-induced self-assembly of DCD-1L upon interaction with bacterial lipid bilayers is a prerequisite for ion channel formation. These data allow us for the first time to propose a molecular model for the antimicrobial mechanism of a naturally processed human anionic peptide that is active under the harsh conditions present in human sweat.