Structural Aspects of the Interaction of peptidyl-glycylleucine-carboxyamide, a Highly Potent Antimicrobial Peptide from Frog Skin, with Lipids
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The interaction of PGLa (peptidyl-glycylleucine-carboxyamide), a 21-amino-acid residue cationic peptide, isolated from the skin of the South African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis, with model membrane systems was investigated. Our studies focussed on the importance of the difference in the phospholipid composition of bacterial and erythrocyte membranes. This is of particular interest to gain information on the specificity of membranolysis exhibited by this peptide against bacteria but not against erythrocytes. In phosphate buffer at physiological pH, as well as in the presence of the zwitterionic phosphatidylcholine and sphingomyelin. the peptide had a random structure but it adopted an alpha-helical conformation in the presence of negatively charged lipids. Furthermore, calorimetric experiments showed that PGLa had no effects on the thermotropic phase behavior of liposomes composed of the choline phosphatides, while separation of a distinct peptide-rich domain was observed for phosphatidylglycerol liposomes. In addition to the main transition of pure 1,2-dipalmitoylglycerophosphoglycerol at 40 degrees C a second transition owing to the peptide-perturbed lipid domains was found at 41 degrees C. This conclusion is supported by X-ray diffraction experiments which indicated that PGLa penetrates into the hydrophobic core of the bilayer inducing an untilting of the hydrocarbon chains as observed in the gel phase of the pure lipid. These results demonstrate that this antibacterial peptide specifically interacts with negatively charged lipid membranes, which are characteristic of bacterial membranes. This can be explained based on the structural features of PGLa.
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