Analogs of the antimicrobial peptide trichogin having opposite membrane properties Academic Article uri icon

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  • Four analogs of the antimicrobial peptide trichogin GA IV were studied. Their sequences are as follows: GT, n-octanoyl-Aib-Gly-Leu-Aib-Gly-Gly-Leu-Aib-Gly-Ile-Leu-OMe; ST, n-octanoyl-Aib-Ser-Leu-Aib-Ser-Ser-Leu-Aib-Ser-Ile-Leu-OMe; BT, n-octanoyl-Aib-Ser(tBu)-Leu-Aib-Ser(tBu)-Ser(tBu)-Leu-Aib-Ser(tBu)-Ile-Leu-OMe; and DT, n-octanoyl-Aib-Ser(tBu)-Leu-Aib-Ser(tBu)-Ser(tBu)-Leu-Aib-Ser(tBu)-Ile-Leu-Aib-Ser(tBu)-Leu-Aib-Ser(tBu)-Ser(tBu)-Leu-Aib-Ser(tBu)-Ile-Leu-OMe. The trichogin GA IV differs from GT only in the nature of the C-terminal residue, being a 1,2 aminoalcohol (leucinol) in the case of the parent peptide. Compared with GT, ST has an increased amphiphilicity. In contrast, BT has little amphiphilicity being composed only of hydrophobic amino acids. DT is an octanoylated head-to-tail dimer of BT. We show that BT and DT lower the bilayer-to-hexagonal phase transition temperature (T(H)) of dipalmitoleoylphosphatidylethanolamine, indicating that the peptides promote negative curvature. These two peptides, composed of only hydrophobic amino acids, have their bulkier groups on one face of the helix, suggesting that they may penetrate membranes at an oblique angle. In contrast, GT and ST, like trichogin itself, increase TH, promoting positive curvature. These peptides have contrasting membrane lytic activities. Whereas DT and BT did not produce leakage of aqueous contents, GT and ST, like trichogin, did cause rapid leakage. The leakage activity with liposomes also correlates with the greater potency of GT and ST, compared with the hydrophobic analogs, in their hemolytic and bacteriostatic action. ST has greater lytic ability than GT in liposomal leakage as well as hemolysis. We also measured the rate of peptide-promoted lipid mixing as an indication of membrane fusion. BT produced lipid mixing only with large unilamellar vesicles enriched with dioleoylphosphatidylethanolamine; ST did not produce lipid mixing, as its apparent reduction of energy transfer proved to be artifactual. Quasi-elastic light scattering of large unilamellar vesicles was also carried out after adding ST and BT. Peptide BT, but not ST, was able to aggregate large unilamellar vesicles. Thus, one of the properties of BT that leads to the induction of lipid mixing is that it is able to aggregate vesicles, placing the bilayers in juxtaposition. Thus, the two pairs of peptides, BT and DT vs GT and ST, exhibit contrasting behaviour with respect to a number of membrane biophysical properties. This occurs despite the fact that the chemical structures of the peptides are rather similar. Such distinct behavior is also reflected in their hemolytic and bacteriostatic actions.


  • Epand, Richard
  • Epand, Richard M
  • Formaggio, Fernando
  • Crisma, Marco
  • Wu, Huiyuan
  • Lehrer, Robert I
  • Toniolo, Claudio

publication date

  • February 2001

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