- Structural and biophysical characterization of an antimicrobial peptide chimera comprised of lactoferricin and lactoferrampin
- Biochimica et Biophysica Acta Biomembranes
- Volume | Issue number
- 1818 | 3
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Dentistry (ACTA)
Lactoferricin and lactoferrampin are two antimicrobial peptides found in the N-terminal lobe of bovine lactoferrin with broad spectrum antimicrobial activity against a range of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria as well as Candida albicans. A heterodimer comprised of lactoferrampin joined to a fragment of lactoferricin was recently reported in which these two peptides were joined at their C-termini through the two amino groups of a single Lys residue (Bolscher et al., 2009, Biochimie 91(1):123-132). This hybrid peptide, termed LFchimera, has significantly higher antimicrobial activity compared to the individual peptides or an equimolar mixture of the two. In this work, the underlying mechanism behind the increased antibacterial activity of LFchimera was investigated. Differential scanning calorimetry studies demonstrated that all the peptides influenced the thermotropic phase behaviour of anionic phospholipid suspensions. Calcein leakage and vesicle fusion experiments with anionic liposomes revealed that LFchimera had enhanced membrane perturbing properties compared to the individual peptides. Peptide structures were evaluated using circular dichroism and NMR spectroscopy to gain insight into the structural features of LFchimera that contribute to the increased antimicrobial activity. The NMR solution structure, determined in a miscible co-solvent mixture of chloroform, methanol and water, revealed that the Lys linkage increased the helical content in LFchimera compared to the individual peptides, but it did not fix the relative orientations of lactoferricin and lactoferrampin with respect to each other. The structure of LFchimera provides insight into the conformation of this peptide in a membranous environment and improves our understanding of its antimicrobial mechanism of action.
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