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PLoS Comput Biol. 2013;9(9):e1003212. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003212. Epub 2013 Sep 5.

Antimicrobial peptides design by evolutionary multiobjective optimization.

Author information

1
Center for Nanotechnology Innovation @NEST, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Pisa, Italy.

Abstract

Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are an abundant and wide class of molecules produced by many tissues and cell types in a variety of mammals, plant and animal species. Linear alpha-helical antimicrobial peptides are among the most widespread membrane-disruptive AMPs in nature, representing a particularly successful structural arrangement in innate defense. Recently, AMPs have received increasing attention as potential therapeutic agents, owing to their broad activity spectrum and their reduced tendency to induce resistance. The introduction of non-natural amino acids will be a key requisite in order to contrast host resistance and increase compound's life. In this work, the possibility to design novel AMP sequences with non-natural amino acids was achieved through a flexible computational approach, based on chemophysical profiles of peptide sequences. Quantitative structure-activity relationship (QSAR) descriptors were employed to code each peptide and train two statistical models in order to account for structural and functional properties of alpha-helical amphipathic AMPs. These models were then used as fitness functions for a multi-objective evolutional algorithm, together with a set of constraints for the design of a series of candidate AMPs. Two ab-initio natural peptides were synthesized and experimentally validated for antimicrobial activity, together with a series of control peptides. Furthermore, a well-known Cecropin-Mellitin alpha helical antimicrobial hybrid (CM18) was optimized by shortening its amino acid sequence while maintaining its activity and a peptide with non-natural amino acids was designed and tested, demonstrating the higher activity achievable with artificial residues.

PMID:
24039565
PMCID:
PMC3764005
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003212
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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