Amino Acid Composition Determines Peptide Activity Spectrum and Hot-Spot-Based Design of Merecidin.
ABSTRACT: There is a great interest in developing the only human cathelicidin into therapeutic molecules. The major antimicrobial region of human LL-37 corresponds to residues 17-32. The resultant peptide GF-17 shows a broad spectrum of antimicrobial activity against both Gram-positive and negative bacteria. By reducing the hydrophobic content, we previously succeeded in converting the broad-spectrum GF-17 to two narrow-spectrum peptides (GF-17d3 and KR-12) with activity against Gram-negative bacteria. This study demonstrates that substitution of multiple basic amino acids by hydrophobic alanines makes a broad-spectrum peptide 17BIPHE2 (designed based on GF-17d3) active against Staphylococcal pathogens but not other bacteria tested. Taken together, our results reveal distinct charge and hydrophobic requirements for peptides to kill Gram-positive or Gram-negative bacteria. This finding is in line with the bioinformatics analysis of the peptides in the Antimicrobial Peptide Database (http://aps.unmc.edu/AP). In addition, a hot spot arginine is identified and used to design merecidin with reduced toxicity to human cells. Merecidin protects wax moth larvae (Galleria mellonella) from the infection of methicillin-resistant S. aureus USA300. These new selective peptides constitute interesting candidates for future development.
Project description:The venoms of spiders and scorpions contain a variety of chemical compounds. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) from these organisms were first discovered in the 1990s. As of May 2015, there were 42 spider's and 63 scorpion's AMPs in the Antimicrobial Peptide Database (http://aps.unmc.edu/AP). These peptides have demonstrated broad or narrow-spectrum activities against bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites. In addition, they can be toxic to cancer cells, insects and erythrocytes. To provide insight into such an activity spectrum, this article discusses the discovery, classification, structure and activity relationships, bioinformatics analysis, and potential applications of spider and scorpion AMPs. Our analysis reveals that, in the case of linear peptides, spiders use both glycine-rich and helical peptide models for defense, whereas scorpions use two distinct helical peptide models with different amino acid compositions to exert the observed antimicrobial activities and hemolytic toxicity. Our structural bioinformatics study improves the knowledge in the field and can be used to design more selective peptides to combat tumors, parasites, and viruses.
Project description:Because issues of cost and bioavailability have hampered the development of gene-encoded antimicrobial peptides to combat infectious diseases, short linear peptides with high microbial cell selectivity have been recently considered as antibiotic substitutes. A new type of short antimicrobial peptide, designated temporin-SHf, was isolated and cloned from the skin of the frog Pelophylax saharica. Temporin-SHf has a highly hydrophobic sequence (FFFLSRIFa) and possesses the highest percentage of Phe residues of any known peptide or protein. Moreover, it is the smallest natural linear antimicrobial peptide found to date, with only eight residues. Despite its small size and hydrophobicity, temporin-SHf has broad-spectrum microbicidal activity against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria and yeasts, with no hemolytic activity. CD and NMR spectroscopy combined with restrained molecular dynamics calculations showed that the peptide adopts a well defined non-amphipathic alpha-helical structure from residue 3 to 8, when bound to zwitterionic dodecyl phosphocholine or anionic SDS micelles. Relaxation enhancement caused by paramagnetic probes showed that the peptide adopts nearly parallel orientations to the micelle surface and that the helical structure is stabilized by a compact hydrophobic core on one face that penetrates into the micelle interior. Differential scanning calorimetry on multilamellar vesicles combined with membrane permeabilization assays on bacterial cells indicated that temporin-SHf disrupts the acyl chain packing of anionic lipid bilayers, thereby triggering local cracks and microbial membrane disintegration through a detergent-like effect probably via the carpet mechanism. The short length, compositional simplicity, and broad-spectrum activity of temporin-SHf make it an attractive candidate to develop new antibiotic agents.
Project description:Hemocyanin, the multifunctional glycoprotein in the hemolymph of invertebrates, can generate various antimicrobial peptides (AMPs). Given the rising interest in the use of natural therapeutic agents such as AMPs, alternative and more efficient methods for their generation are being explored. In this work, free online software was first applied to predict the generation of antimicrobial peptides from the large subunit of Litopenaeus vannamei hemocyanin. Twenty potential antimicrobial peptides ranging from 1.5 to 1.9 kDa were predicted, five of which had ?-helical structures and were selected for antibacterial activity testing. The results indicated that these five peptides had antibacterial activity against seven different bacteria. Of the five peptides, one peptide, designated L1, had the strongest antibacterial activity against both Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria. Moreover, CD and NMR data showed that L1 had both ?-helical and ?-turns structural composition, and that these structures were essential for L1's antibacterial activity. Furthermore, SEM analysis revealed that peptide L1 had broad-spectrum activity against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, as it could destroy the bacterial cell walls and kill the bacteria. Thus, L1 is a very potent antimicrobial peptide that can be exploited and used in antibacterial therapeutics.
Project description:Antimicrobial peptides are essential components of the innate immune system of multicellular organisms. Although cationic and hydrophobic amino acids are known determinants of these amphipathic molecules for bacterial killing, it is not clear how lysine-arginine (K-R) positional swaps influence peptide structure and activity. This study addresses this question by investigating two groups of peptides (GF-17 and 17BIPHE2) derived from human cathelicidin LL-37. K-R positional swap showed little effect on minimal inhibitory concentrations of the peptides. However, there are clear differences in bacterial killing kinetics. The membrane permeation patterns vary with peptide and bacterial types, but not changes in fluorescent dyes, salts or pH. In general, the original peptide is more efficient in bacterial killing, but less toxic to human cells, than the K-R swapped peptides, revealing the evolutionary significance of the native sequence for host defense. The characteristic membrane permeation patterns for different bacteria suggest a possible application of these K-R positional-swapped peptides as molecular probes for the type of bacteria. Such differences are related to bacterial membrane compositions: minimal for Gram-positive Staphylococcus aureus with essentially all anionic lipids (cardiolipin and phosphatidylglycerol), but evident for Gram-negative Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Escherichia coli with a mixture of phosphatidylethanolamine and phosphatidylglycerol. Biophysical characterization found similar structures and binding affinities for these peptides in vesicle systems mimicking E. coli and S. aureus. It seems that interfacial arginines of GF-17 are preferred over lysines in bacterial membrane permeation. Our study sheds new light on the design of cationic amphipathic peptides.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Bacteriocins are antimicrobial peptides that are produced by bacteria as a defense mechanism in complex environments. Identification and characterization of novel bacteriocins in novel strains of bacteria is one of the important fields in bacteriology. METHODOLOGY/FINDINGS: The strain GI-9 was identified as Brevibacillus sp. by 16 S rRNA gene sequence analysis. The bacteriocin produced by strain GI-9, namely, laterosporulin was purified from supernatant of the culture grown under optimal conditions using hydrophobic interaction chromatography and reverse-phase HPLC. The bacteriocin was active against a wide range of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. MALDI-TOF experiments determined the precise molecular mass of the peptide to be of 5.6 kDa and N-terminal sequencing of the thermo-stable peptide revealed low similarity with existing antimicrobial peptides. The putative open reading frame (ORF) encoding laterosporulin and its surrounding genomic region was fished out from the draft genome sequence of GI-9. Sequence analysis of the putative bacteriocin gene did not show significant similarity to any reported bacteriocin producing genes in database. CONCLUSIONS: We have identified a bacteriocin producing strain GI-9, belonging to the genus Brevibacillus sp. Biochemical and genomic characterization of laterosporulin suggests it as a novel bacteriocin with broad spectrum antibacterial activity.
Project description:Two new series of aryl SMAMPs (synthetic mimics of antimicrobial peptides) with facially amphiphilic (FA) and disrupted amphiphilic (DA) topologies were designed and synthesized to directly assess the role of amphiphilicity on their antimicrobial activity against gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria in closely related structures. The FA SMAMPs displayed broad spectrum antimicrobial activity against both gram-positive S. aureus and gram-negative E. coli, whereas the DA SMAMPs, which contained a polar amide bond in between the hydrophobic moieties, only exhibited activity towards S. aureus with increasing hydrophobicity. The integy moment (IW) was used to quantify the amphiphilicity of the SMAMPs and confirmed that it is critical for the design of SMAMPs with gram-negative activity.
Project description:Background and purpose: The world is heading to a post-antibiotic era where the treatment of bacterial infections will not be possible even with well-known last-line antibiotics. Unfortunately, the emergence of multidrug resistant bacterial strains is uncontrollable, and the humanity will face a life-threatening fate unless new antimicrobial agents with new bacterial target sites are promptly developed. Herein, we design a hybrid antimicrobial peptide (B1) from helical parts taken from the parent peptides: LL-37 and BMAP-27. The purpose of this design is to improve the potency and enhance the toxicity profile of the parent peptides. Methods: Rational design was used to hybridize two antimicrobial peptides, in which two helical parts from the bovine analog BMAP-27, and the human cathelicidin LL-37 were used to generate a novel peptide (B1). The physicochemical properties were checked using in silico methods. The antimicrobial activities were tested against nine control and resistant strains of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. On the other hand, the antibiofilm activities were tested against four resistant strains. The cytotoxicity on mammalian cells was tested using HEK293, and the hemolysis activity was also investigated on human blood. Finally, synergistic studies were performed with four conventional antibiotics against four resistant strains of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Results: The new peptide B1 exhibited broad-spectrum activities against all tested strains. The concentration against planktonic cells ranged between 10 and 20 µM. However, 40-60 µM were needed to eradicate the biofilms. B1 showed reduced toxicity toward mammalian cells with minimal hemolysis risk. On the other hand, the synergistic studies showed improved activities for the combined conventional antibiotics with a huge reduction in their minimum inhibitory concentration values. The concentrations of B1 peptide combined with the tested antibiotics were also decreased markedly down to 0.5 µM in some cases. Conclusion: B1 is a hybrid peptide from two cathelicidin peptides. It showed an improved activity compared to parent peptides. The hybridization was successful in this study. It generated a new potent broad-spectrum antimicrobial. The toxicity profile was improved, and the synergism with the convention antibiotics showed promising results.
Project description:The increasing prevalence of multidrug-resistant bacteria urges the development of new antibacterial agents. With a broad spectrum activity, antimicrobial peptides have been considered potential antibacterial drug leads. Using bioinformatic tools we have previously shown that viral structural proteins are a rich source for new bioactive peptide sequences, namely antimicrobial and cell-penetrating peptides. Here, we test the efficacy and mechanism of action of the most promising peptides among those previously identified against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Two cell-penetrating peptides, vCPP 0769 and vCPP 2319, have high antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus, MRSA, Escherichia coli, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, being thus multifunctional. The antibacterial mechanism of action of the two most active viral protein-derived peptides, vAMP 059 and vCPP 2319, was studied in detail. Both peptides act on both Gram-positive S. aureus and Gram-negative P. aeruginosa, with bacterial cell death occurring within minutes. Also, these peptides cause bacterial membrane permeabilization and damage of the bacterial envelope of P. aeruginosa cells. Overall, the results show that structural viral proteins are an abundant source for membrane-active peptides sequences with strong antibacterial properties.
Project description:Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection remains to be one of the major global health problems. It is thus necessary to identify novel therapeutic molecules to combat HIV-1. Natural antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) have been recognized as promising templates for developing topical microbicides. This review systematically discusses over 80 anti-HIV peptides annotated in the antimicrobial peptide database (http://aps.unmc.edu/AP). Such peptides have been discovered from bacteria, plants, and animals. Examples include gramicidin and bacteriocins from bacteria, cyclotides from plants, melittins and cecropins from insects, piscidins from fish, ascaphins, caerins, dermaseptins, esculentins, and maximins from amphibians, and cathelicidins and defensins from vertebrates. These peptides appear to work by different mechanisms and could block viral entry in multiple ways. As additional advantages, such anti-HIV peptides may possess other desired features such as antibacterial, antiparasital, spermicidal, and anticancer activity. With continued optimization of peptide stability, production, formulation and delivery methods, it is anticipated that some of these compounds may eventually become new anti-HIV drugs.
Project description:Cationic antimicrobial peptides are recognized templates for developing a new generation of antimicrobials to combat superbugs. Human cathelicidin LL-37 is an essential host defense molecule in human innate immunity. Previously, we identified KR-12 as the smallest antibacterial peptide of LL-37. KR-12 has a narrow activity spectrum since it is active against Gram-negative Escherichia coli but not Gram-positive Staphylococcus aureus. The functional roles of the basic amino acids of KR-12, however, have not yet been elucidated. An alanine scan of cationic amino acids of KR-12 provided evidence for their distinct roles in the activities of the peptides. Bacterial killing and membrane permeation experiments indicate that the R23A and K25A mutants, as well as the lysine-to-arginine mutant, were more potent than KR-12. Another three cationic residues (K18, R19, and R29) of KR-12, which are located in the hydrophilic face of the amphiphathic helix, appeared to be more important in clustering anionic lipids or hemolysis than R23 and K25 in the interfacial region. While the loss of interfacial R23 or K25 reduced peptide helicity, underscoring its important role in membrane binding, the overall increase in peptide activity of KR-12 could be ascribed to the increased peptide hydrophobicity that outweighed the role of basic charge in this case. In contrast, the mutations of interfacial R23 or K25 reduced peptide bactericidal activity of GF-17, an overlapping, more hydrophobic and potent peptide also derived from LL-37. Thus, the hydrophobic context of the peptide determines whether an alanine substitution of an interfacial basic residue increases or decreases membrane permeation and peptide activity.