Accessibility navigation

Arginine-containing surfactant-like peptides: interaction with lipid membranes and antimicrobial activity

Castelletto, V., Barnes, R. H., Karatzas, K.-A., Edwards-Gayle, C. J. C., Greco, F., Hamley, I. W., Rambo, R., Seitsonen, J. and Ruokolainen, J. (2018) Arginine-containing surfactant-like peptides: interaction with lipid membranes and antimicrobial activity. Biomacromolecules, 19 (7). pp. 2782-2794. ISSN 1525-7797

· Please see our End User Agreement before downloading.


It is advisable to refer to the publisher's version if you intend to cite from this work. See Guidance on citing.

To link to this item DOI: 10.1021/acs.biomac.8b00391


The activity of antimicrobial peptides stems from their interaction with bacterial membranes, which are disrupted according to a number of proposed mechanisms. Here, we investigate the interaction of a model antimicrobial peptide that contains a single arginine residue with vesicles containing model lipid membranes. The surfactant-like peptide Ala6-Arg (A6R) is studied in the form where both termini are capped (CONH-A6R-NH2, capA6R) or uncapped (NH2-A6ROH,A6R). Lipid membranes are selected to correspond tomodel anionic membranes (POPE/POPG) resembling those in bacteria or model zwitterionic membranes (POPC/DOPC)similar to those found in mammalian cells. Viable antimicrobial agents should show activity against anionic membranes but not zwitterionic membranes. We find, using small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) and cryogenic-TEM (transmission electron microscopy) that, uniquely, capA6R causes structuring of anionic membranes due to the incorporation of the peptide in the lipid bilayer with peptide β-sheet conformation revealed by circular dichroism spectroscopy (CD). There is a preferential interaction of the peptide with POPG (which is the only anionic lipid in the systems studied) due to electrostatic interactions and bidentate hydrogen bonding between arginine guanidinium and lipid phosphate groups. At a certain composition, this peptide leads to the remarkable tubulation of zwitterionic phosphatidylcholine (PC) vesicles, which is ascribed to the interaction of the peptide with the outer lipid membrane, which occurs without penetration into the membrane. In contrast, peptide A6R has a minimal influence on the anionic lipid membranes (and no β-sheet peptide structure is observed) but causes thinning (lamellar decorrelation) of zwitterionic membranes. We also investigated the cytotoxicity (to fibroblasts) and antimicrobial activity of these two peptides against model Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria. A strong selective antimicrobial activity against Gram positive Listeria monocytogenes, which is an important food-borne pathogen, is observed for capA6R. Peptide A6R is active against all three studied bacteria. The activity of the peptides against bacteria and mammalian cells is related to the specific interactions uncovered through our SAXS, cryo-TEM, and CD measurements. Our results highlight the exquisite sensitivity to the charge distribution in these designed peptides and its effect on the interaction with lipid membranes bearing different charges, and ultimately on antimicrobial activity.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > Department of Chemistry
Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences > Food Microbial Sciences Research Group
Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > School of Pharmacy > Pharmaceutics Research Group
ID Code:77258
Publisher:American Chemical Society


Downloads per month over past year

University Staff: Request a correction | Centaur Editors: Update this record

Page navigation