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J Pept Sci. 2002 Aug;8(8):431-7.

Antimicrobial activity of short arginine- and tryptophan-rich peptides.

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1
Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, University of Tromsø, Norway.

Abstract

Highly antimicrobial active arginine- and tryptophan-rich peptides were synthesized ranging in size from 11 to five amino acid residues in order to elucidate the main structural requirement for such short antimicrobial peptides. The amino acid sequences of the peptides were based on previous studies of longer bovine and murine lactoferricin derivatives. Most of the peptides showed strong inhibitory action against the Gram-negative bacteria Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and the Gram-positive bacterium Staphylococcus aureus. For the most active derivatives, the minimal inhibitory concentration values observed for the Gram-negative bacteria were 5 microg/ml (3.5 microM), whereas it was 2.5 microg/ml (1.5 microM) for the Gram-positive bacterium. It was essential for the antimicrobial activity that the peptides contained a minimum of three tryptophan and three arginine residues, and carried a free N-terminal amino group and an amidated C-terminal end. Furthermore, a minimum sequence size of seven amino acid residues was required for a high antimicrobial activity against Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The insertion of additional arginine and tryptophan residues into the peptides resulted only in small variations in the antimicrobial activity, whereas replacement of a tryptophan residue with tyrosine in the hepta- and hexapeptides resulted in reduced antimicrobial activity, especially against the Gram-negative bacteria. The peptides were non-haemolytic, making them highly potent as prospective antibiotic agents.

PMID:
12212806
DOI:
10.1002/psc.398
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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