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Selective antibacterial activity and lipid membrane interactions of arginine-rich amphiphilic peptides

Edwards-Gayle, C. J. C., Barrett, G. ORCID:, Roy, S., Castelletto, V., Seitsonen, J., Ruokolainen, J. and Hamley, I. W. ORCID: (2020) Selective antibacterial activity and lipid membrane interactions of arginine-rich amphiphilic peptides. ACS Applied Bio Materials, 3 (2). pp. 1165-1175. ISSN 2576-6422

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1021/acsabm.9b00894


The self-assembly behaviour and antimicrobial activity of two new designed amphiphilic peptides, R3F3 and R4F4, containing short hydrophobic phenylalanine (F) cationic arginine (R) sequences are investigated. The conformation of the peptides was examined using circular dichroism and FTIR spectroscopy, which show that they have a disordered secondary structure. Concentration-dependent fluorescence assays show the presence of a critical aggregation concentration (cac) for each peptide. Above the cac, small angle x-ray scattering (SAXS) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) show the presence of a population of twisted tapes for R3F3 and nanosheets for R4F4. The interaction of the peptides with model bacterial membranes comprising mixtures of the lipids DPPG [1,2-dipalmitoyl-sn-glycero-3-phospho-rac-(1-glycerol)] and DPPE [1,2-dipalmitoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine], was studied using SAXS and cryogenic-TEM. Analysis of the SAXS structure factor indicates that R3F3 interacts with lipid bilayers by inducing correlation between bilayers, whereas R4F4 interacts with the bilayers causing an increase in polydispersity of the vesicle wall thickness. Both peptides break vesicles with a 1:3 DPPG:DPPE composition, which is close to the ratio of PG and PE lipids observed in the lipid membrane of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a pathogen responsible for serious infections and which has developed antimicrobial resistant strains. Both peptides show activity against this bacterium in planktonic form. Peptide R4F4 shows particularly strong bioactivity against this microbe, with a minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) value in the range of concentrations where the peptide is cytocompatible. It was further shown to have activity against other Pseudomonas species including the common plant pathogen P. syringae. Finally, we show that R4F4 inhibits the development of P. aeruginosa biofilms. This was examined in detail and a proposed mechanism involving binding of the signalling molecule c-di-GMP is suggested, based on circular dichroism spectroscopy studies and Congo red assays of extracellular polysaccharides produced by the stressed bacteria. Thus, R4F4 is a promising candidate antimicrobial peptide with activity against Pseudomonas species.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > Department of Chemistry
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Chemical Analysis Facility (CAF) > Optical Spectroscopy (CAF)
ID Code:88624
Publisher:ACS Publications


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