Citation (#59):

Isolation and identification of three bactericidal domains in the bovine alpha-lactalbumin molecule

Authors: Pellegrini, A., Thomas, U., Bramaz, N., Hunziker, P., von Fellenberg, R.

Journal: Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - General Subjects 1999, 1426(3).

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Proteolytic digestion of alpha-lactalbumin by pepsin, trypsin and chymotrypsin yielded three polypeptide fragments with bactericidal properties. Two fragments were obtained from the tryptic digestion. One was a pentapeptide with the sequence EQLTK (residues 1-5) and the other, GYGGVSLPEWVCTTF ALCSEK (residues (17-31)S-S(109-114)), was composed of two polypeptide chains held together by a disulfide bridge. Fragmentation of alpha-lactalbumin by chymotrypsin yielded CKDDQNPH ISCDKF (residues (61-68)S-S(75-80)), also a polypeptide composed of two polypeptide chains held together by a disulfide bridge. The three polypeptides were synthesized and found to exert antimicrobial activities. The polypeptides were mostly active against Gram-positive bacteria. Gram-negative bacteria were only poorly susceptible to the bactericidal action of the polypeptides. GYGGVSLPEWVCTTF ALCSEK was most, EQLTK least bactericidal. Replacement of leucine (23) with isoleucine, having a similar chemical structure but higher hydrophobicity, in the sequence GYGGVSLPEWVCTTF ALCSEK significantly reduced the bactericidal capacity of the polypeptide. Digestion of alpha-lactalbumin by pepsin yielded several polypeptide fragments without antibacterial activity. alpha-Lactalbumin in contrast to its polypeptide fragments was not bactericidal against all the bacterial strains tested. Our results suggest a possible antimicrobial function of alpha-lactalbumin after its partial digestion by endopeptidases.

Keywords: [alpha]-Lactalbumin; Antibacterial activity; Antibiotic; Bactericidal peptide

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