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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1991 Nov 18;1070(1):259-64.

Interactions of an antimicrobial peptide, tachyplesin I, with lipid membranes.

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Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kyoto University, Japan.


Tachyplesin I, isolated from the acid extracts of hemocytes of Tachypleus tridentatus, is a cyclic broad-spectrum antimicrobial peptide forming a rigid, antiparallel beta-sheet because of two intramolecular S-S linkages. The strong binding of the peptide to lipopolysaccharides cannot explain the susceptibilities of gram positive bacteria and fungi to the peptide. We found that tachyplesin I caused a rapid K+ efflux from Escherichia coli cells, concomitant with a reduced cell viability. This result suggests that the peptide-induced permeability enhancement of the bacterial membranes may be a plausible action mechanism. Thus, we studied the interactions of tachyplesin I with various large unilamellar vesicles (LUVs) to reveal the molecular machinery of the antimicrobial activity. Tachyplesin I induced the leakage of calcein, a trapped fluorescent marker, from LUVs of acidic phospholipids, especially phosphatidylglycerol (PG), but not from phosphatidylcholine LUVs. A detailed analysis found that the affinity of the peptide to the PG membranes is very strong and that the binding of one peptide molecule to approx. 200 lipid molecules leads to a significant leakage. The location of tachyplesin I in membranes was estimated by use of the Trp-2 fluorescence of the peptide. The presence of PG LUVs caused a blue shift of the maximum wavelength, an increase in the quantum yield, and a complete protection from fluorescence quenching by an aqueous quencher, acrylamide. Moreover, the degree of fluorescence quenching of the Trp residue by n-doxylstearates was in the order n = 5 greater than 7 greater than 12 approximately equal to 16. These results show that the Trp residue of tachyplesin I seems to locate in a hydrophobic environment near the surface of the PG bilayers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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