Send to

Choose Destination
J Pept Sci. 2005 Nov;11(11):688-96.

Pediocin-like antimicrobial peptides (class IIa bacteriocins) and their immunity proteins: biosynthesis, structure, and mode of action.

Author information

Department of Molecular Biosciences, University of Oslo, Norway.


Pediocin-like antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) form a group of lactic acid bacteria produced, cationic membrane-permeabilizing peptides with 37 to 48 residues. Upon exposure to membrane-mimicking entities, their hydrophilic, cationic, and highly conserved N-terminal region forms a three-stranded antiparallel beta-sheet supported by a conserved disulfide bridge. This N-terminal beta-sheet region is followed by a central amphiphilic alpha-helix and this in most (if not all) of these peptides is followed by a rather extended C-terminal tail that folds back onto the central alpha-helix, thereby creating a hairpin-like structure in the C-terminal half. There is a flexible hinge between the beta-sheet N-terminal region and the hairpin C-terminal region and one thus obtains two domains that may move relative to each other. The cationic N-terminal beta-sheet domain mediates binding of the pediocin-like AMPs to the target-cell surface through electrostatic interactions, while the more hydrophobic and amphiphilic C-terminal hairpin domain penetrates into the hydrophobic part of the target-cell membrane, thereby mediating leakage through the membrane. The hinge provides the structural flexibility that enables the C-terminal hairpin domain to dip into the hydrophobic part of the membrane. Despite extensive sequence similarities, these AMPs differ markedly in their target-cell specificity, and results obtained with hybrid AMPs indicate that the membrane-penetrating hairpin-like C-terminal domain is the major specificity determinant. Bacteria that produce pediocin-like AMPs also produce a 11-kDa cognate immunity protein that protects the producer. The immunity proteins are well-structured, 4-helix bundle cytosolic proteins. They show a high degree of specificity in that they largely recognize and confer immunity only to their cognate AMP and in some cases to a few AMPs that are closely related to their cognate AMP. The C-terminal half of the immunity proteins contains a domain that is involved in specific recognition of the C-terminal membrane-penetrating specificity-determining hairpin domain of the cognate AMP.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center