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Biol Chem. 2006 Oct-Nov;387(10-11):1495-502.

The human cathelicidin peptide LL-37 and truncated variants induce segregation of lipids and proteins in the plasma membrane of Candida albicans.

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  • 1Department of Oral Biochemistry, Academic Centre for Dentistry Amsterdam, Free University and University of Amsterdam, Van der Boechorststraat 7, NL-1081 BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


The human cathelicidin peptide LL-37 and several truncated variants differ in their capability to transmigrate over the plasma membrane of Candida albicans. We investigated whether retention at the cell perimeter or membrane transmigration affects their membrane-disrupting activities and candidacidal properties. Using fluorescein-labeled peptides, we demonstrate that LL-37 and its C-terminally truncated peptide LL-31 remain permanently associated with the perimeter of the cell. The N-terminally truncated peptide RK-31 initially accumulated at the cell boundary, but transmigrated into the cytoplasm within 30 min. The C-terminally truncated peptide LL-25 transmigrated instantaneously into the cytoplasm. The ultrastructural effects on the plasma membrane were studied by freeze-fracture electron microscopy combined with filipin cytochemistry. All peptides, whether they transmigrated over the plasma membrane or not, induced phase separation in the plasma membrane. All peptides induced leakage of cell components, including nucleotides and proteins. Proteins were identified by SDS-PAGE in combination with mass spectrometry, which revealed that predominantly proteins smaller than 50 kDa had leaked out of C. albicans.

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