N-terminal fatty acid substitution increases the leishmanicidal activity of CA(1-7)M(2-9), a cecropin-melittin hybrid peptide

Cristina Chicharro, Cesare Granata, Rosario Lozano, David Andreu, Luis Rivas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

102 Citations (Scopus)


In order to improve the leishmanicidal activity of the synthetic cecropin A-melittin hybrid peptide CA(17)M(2-9) (KWKLFKKIGAVLKVL-NH2), a systematic study of its acylation with saturated linear fatty acids was carried out. Acylation of the Nε-7 lysine residue led to a drastic decrease in leishmanicidal activity, whereas acylation at lysine 1, in either the α or the ε NH2 group, increased up to 3 times the activity of the peptide against promastigotes and increased up to 15 times the activity of the peptide against amastigotes. Leishmanicidal activity increased with the length of the fatty acid chain, reaching a maximum for the lauroyl analogue (12 carbons). According to the fast kinetics, dissipation of membrane potential, and parasite membrane permeability to the nucleic acid binding probe SYTOX green, the lethal mechanism was directly related to plasma membrane permeabilization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2441-2449
Number of pages9
JournalAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2001
Externally publishedYes

Cite this