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J Biol Chem. 2011 Jul 8;286(27):24394-406. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.189662. Epub 2011 May 17.

NMR structures and interactions of temporin-1Tl and temporin-1Tb with lipopolysaccharide micelles: mechanistic insights into outer membrane permeabilization and synergistic activity.

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School of Biological Sciences, Division of Structural and Computational Biology, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 637551.


Temporins are a group of closely related short antimicrobial peptides from frog skin. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS), the major constituent of the outer membrane of gram-negative bacteria, plays important roles in the activity of temporins. Earlier studies have found that LPS induces oligomerization of temporin-1Tb (TB) thus preventing its translocation across the outer membrane and, as a result, reduces its activity on gram-negative bacteria. On the other hand, temporin-1Tl (TL) exhibits higher activity, presumably because of lack of such oligomerization. A synergistic mechanism was proposed, involving TL and TB in overcoming the LPS-mediated barrier. Here, to gain insights into interactions of TL and TB within LPS, we investigated the structures and interactions of TL, TB, and TL+TB in LPS micelles, using NMR and fluorescence spectroscopy. In the context of LPS, TL assumes a novel antiparallel dimeric helical structure sustained by intimate packing between aromatic-aromatic and aromatic-aliphatic residues. By contrast, independent TB has populations of helical and aggregated conformations in LPS. The LPS-induced aggregated states of TB are largely destabilized in the presence of TL. Saturation transfer difference NMR studies have delineated residues of TL and TB in close contact with LPS and enhanced interactions of these two peptides with LPS, when combined together. Fluorescence resonance energy transfer and (31)P NMR have pointed out the proximity of TL and TB in LPS and conformational changes of LPS, respectively. Importantly, these results provide the first structural insights into the mode of action and synergism of antimicrobial peptides at the level of the LPS-outer membrane.

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