Send to

Choose Destination
Chembiochem. 2010 Nov 2;11(16):2273-82. doi: 10.1002/cbic.201000372.

Rational design of tryptophan-rich antimicrobial peptides with enhanced antimicrobial activities and specificities.

Author information

Institute of Biotechnology, Department of Life Science, National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu, Taiwan.


Trp-rich antimicrobial peptides play important roles in the host innate defense mechanism of many plants and animals. A series of short Trp-rich peptides derived from the C-terminal region of Bothrops asper myothoxin II, a Lys49 phospholipase A(2) (PLA(2)), were found to reproduce the antimicrobial activities of their parent molecule. Of these peptides, KKWRWWLKALAKK-designated PEM-2-was found to display improved activity against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. To improve the antimicrobial activity of PEM-2 for potential clinical applications further, we determined the solution structure of PEM-2 bound to membrane-mimetic dodecylphosphocholine (DPC) micelles by two-dimensional NMR methods. The DPC micelle-bound structure of PEM-2 adopts an α-helical conformation and the positively charged residues are clustered together to form a hydrophilic patch. The surface electrostatic potential map indicates that two of the three tryptophan residues are packed against the peptide backbone and form a hydrophobic face with Leu7, Ala9, and Leu10. A variety of biophysical and biochemical experiments, including circular dichroism, fluorescence spectroscopy, and microcalorimetry, were used to show that PEM-2 interacted with negatively charged phospholipid vesicles and efficiently induced dye release from these vesicles, suggesting that the antimicrobial activity of PEM-2 could be due to interactions with bacterial membranes. Potent analogues of PEM-2 with enhanced antimicrobial and less pronounced hemolytic activities were designed with the aid of these structural studies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center