- Human antimicrobial peptide histatin 5 is a cell-penetrating peptide targeting mitochondrial ATP synthesis in Leishmania
- The FASEB Journal
- Volume | Issue number
- 22 | 6
- Pages (from-to)
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Dentistry (ACTA)
Histatin 5 (Hst5) is a human salivary antimicrobial peptide that targets fungal mitochondria.
In the human parasitic protozoa Leishmania, the mitochondrial ATP production is essential, as it lacks the bioenergetic switch between glycolysis and oxidative
phosphorylation described in some yeasts. On these premises, Hst5 activity was assayed on both stages of its life cycle, promastigotes and amastigotes (LC507.3and 14.4 M, respectively). In a further step, its lethal mechanism was studied. The main conclusions drawn were as follows: 1) Hst5 causes limited and temporary damage to the plasma membrane of the parasites, as assessed by electron microscopy, depolarization, and
entrance of the vital dye SYTOX Green; 2) Hst5 translocates into the cytoplasm of Leishmania in an achiral receptor-independent manner with accumulation into the mitochondrion, as shown by confocal microscopy; and 3) Hst5 produces a bioenergetic collapse of the parasite, caused essentially by the decrease of mitochondrial ATP synthesis through inhibition of F1F0-ATPase, with subsequent fast ATP exhaustion. By
using the Hst5 enantiomer, it was found that the key steps of its lethal mechanism involved no chiral recognition. Hst5 thus constitutes the first leishmanicidal peptide with a defined nonstereospecific intracellular target. The prospects of its development, by its own or as a carrier molecule for other leishmanicidal molecules, into a novel anti-Leishmania drug with a preferential subcellular accumulation are discussed.
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