Effect of Antimicrobial Peptides from Australian Tree Frogs on Anionic Phospholipid Membranes

Johh D Gehman, Fiona Luc, Kristopher Norman Hall, Tzong-Hsien Lee, Martin Boland, Tara L Pukala, John H Bowie, Marie Isabel Aguilar, Frances Separovic

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Skin secretions of numerous Australian tree frogs contain antimicrobial peptides that form part of the host defense mechanism against bacterial infection. The mode of action of these antibiotics is thought to be lysis of infectious organisms via cell membrane disruption, on the basis of vesicle-encapsulated dye leakage data [Ambroggio et al. (2005) Biophys. J. 89, 1874-1881]. A detailed understanding of the interaction of these peptides with bacterial membranes at a molecular level, however, is critical to their development as novel antibacterial therapeutics. We focus on four of these peptides, aurein 1.2, citropin 1.1, maculatin 1.1, and caerin 1.1, which exist as random coil in aqueous solution but have alpha-helical secondary structure in membrane mimetic environments. In our earlier solid-state NMR studies, only neutral bilayers of the zwitterionic phospholipid dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine (DMPC) were used. Deuterated DMPC ( d 54-DMPC) was used to probe the effect of the peptides on the order of the lipid acyl chains and dynamics of the phospholipid headgroups by deuterium and (31)P NMR, respectively. In this report we demonstrate several important differences when anionic phospholipid is included in model membranes. Peptide-membrane interactions were characterized using surface plasmon resonance (SPR) spectroscopy and solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. Changes in phospholipid motions and membrane binding information provided additional insight into the action of these antimicrobial peptides. While this set of peptides has significant C- and N-terminal sequence homology, they vary in their mode of membrane interaction. The longer peptides caerin and maculatin exhibited properties that were consistent with transmembrane insertion while citropin and aurein demonstrated membrane disruptive mechanisms. Moreover, aurein was unique with greater perturbation of neutral versus anionic membranes....
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8557 - 8565
Number of pages9
Issue number33
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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