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FEBS Lett. 2001 Oct 19;507(1):95-100.

Structural study of novel antimicrobial peptides, nigrocins, isolated from Rana nigromaculata.

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Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Science, College of Pharmacy, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea.


Novel cationic antimicrobial peptides, named nigrocin 1 and 2, were isolated from the skin of Rana nigromaculata and their amino acid sequences were determined. These peptides manifested a broad spectrum of antimicrobial activity against various microorganisms with different specificity. By primary structural analysis, it was revealed that nigrocin 1 has high sequence homology with brevinin 2 but nigrocin 2 has low sequence homology with any other known antimicrobial peptides. To investigate the structure-activity relationship of nigrocin 2, which has a unique primary structure, circular dichroism (CD) and homonuclear nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) studies were performed. CD investigation revealed that nigrocin 2 adopts mainly an alpha-helical structure in trifluoroethanol (TFE)/H(2)O solution, sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) micelles, and dodecylphosphocholine micelles. The solution structures of nigrocin 2 in TFE/H(2)O (1:1, v/v) solution and in SDS micelles were determined by homonuclear NMR. Nigrocin 2 consists of a typical amphipathic alpha-helix spanning residues 3-18 in both 50% TFE solution and SDS micelles. From the structural comparison of nigrocin 2 with other known antimicrobial peptides, nigrocin 2 could be classified into the family of antimicrobial peptides containing a single linear amphipathic alpha-helix that potentially disrupts membrane integrity, which would result in cell death.

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