Effect of phosphatidylcholine bilayer thickness and molecular order on the binding of the antimicrobial peptide maculatin 1.1

Tzong-Hsien Lee, Marc Antoine Sani, Sarah Overall, Frances Separovic, Marie-Isabel Aguilar

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Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) interact directly with bacterial membrane lipids. Thus, changes in the lipid composition of bacterial membranes can have profound effects on the activity of AMPs. In order to understand the effect of bilayer thickness and molecular order on the activity of AMPs, the interaction of maculatin 1.1 (Mac1.1) with phosphatidylcholine (PC) model membranes composed of different monounsaturated acyl chain lengths between 14 and 22 carbons was characterised by dual polarisation interferometry (DPI) and 31P and 1H solid-state NMR techniques. The thickness and bilayer order of each PC bilayer showed a linear dependence on the acyl chain length. The binding of Mac1.1 exhibited a biphasic dependency between the amount of bound Mac1.1 and bilayer thickness, whereby the mass of bound peptide increased from C14 to C16 and then decreased from C16 to C22. Significant perturbation of 31P chemical shift anisotropy (CSA) values was only observed for DOPC (C18) and DEPC (C22), respectively. In the case of DEPC, the greater range in CSA indicated different headgroup conformations or environments in the presence of Mac1.1. Overall, the results indicated that there is a significant change in the bilayer order upon binding of Mac1.1 and this change occurred in a co-operative manner at higher concentrations of Mac1.1 with increasing bilayer thickness and order. Overall, an optimum bilayer thickness and lipid order may be required for effective membrane perturbation by Mac1.1 and increasing the bilayer thickness and order may counteract the activity of Mac1.1 and play a role in antimicrobial resistance to AMPs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-309
Number of pages10
JournalBBA Biomembranes
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018


  • Dual polarisation interferometry
  • Frog antimicrobial peptides
  • Maculatin
  • Membrane thickness
  • Solid-state NMR

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