Citation (#130):

Influence of N-acylation of a peptide derived from human lactoferricin on membrane selectivity

Authors: Zweytick, D., Pabst, G., Abuja, P.M., Jilek, A., Blondelle, S.E., Andra, J., Jerala, R., Monreal, D., Martinez de Tejada, G., Lohner, K.

Journal: Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Biomembranes 2006, 1758(9).

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Increasing numbers of bacterial strains being resistant to conventional antibiotics emphasize the urgent need for new antimicrobial agents. One strategy is based on host defence peptides that can be found in every organism including humans. We have studied the antimicrobial peptide LF11, derived from the pepsin cleavage product of human lactoferrin, known for its antimicrobial and lipid A-binding activity, and peptide C12LF11, the N-lauryl-derivative of LF11, which has owing to the attached hydrocarbon chain an additional hydrophobic segment. The influence of this hydrocarbon chain on membrane selectivity was studied using model membranes composed of dipalmitoylphosphatidylglycerol (DPPG), mimicking bacterial plasma membranes, and of dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DPPC), a model system for mammalian membranes. A variety of biophysical techniques was applied. Thereby, we found that LF11 did not affect DPPC bilayers and showed only moderate effects on DPPG membranes in accordance with its non-hemolytic and weak antimicrobial activity. In contrast, the introduction of the N-lauryl group caused significant changes in the phase behaviour and lipid chain packing in both model membrane systems. These findings correlate with the in vitro tests on methicillin resistant S. aureus, E. coli, P. aeruginosa and human red blood cells, showing increased biological activity of C12LF11 towards these test organisms. This provides evidence that both electrostatic and hydrophobic interactions are crucial for biological activity of antimicrobial peptides, whereas a certain balance between the two components has to be kept, in order not to loose the specificity for bacterial membranes.

Keywords: Acylation and antimicrobial peptide; Lactoferrin; Antimicrobial and hemolytic activity; Model membrane

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