The structure and membrane interaction of the antimicrobial peptide aurein 2.2 (GLFDIVKKVVGALGSL-CONH2), aurein 2.3 (GLFDIVKKVVGAIGSL-CONH 2), both from Litoria aurea, and a carboxy C-terminal analog of aurein 2.3 (GLFDIVKKVVGAIGSL-COOH) were studied to determine which features of this class of peptides are key to activity. Circular dichroism and solution-state NMR data indicate that all three peptides adopt an α-helical structure in the presence of trifluoroethanol or lipids such as 1,2-dimyristoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DMPC) and a 1:1 mixture of DMPC and 1,2-dimyristoyl-sn-glycero-3-[phospho-rac-(1-glycerol)] (DMPG). Oriented circular dichroism was used to determine the orientation of the peptides in lipid bilayers over a range of concentrations (peptide/lipid molar ratios (P/L) = 1:15-1:120) in DMPC and 1:1 DMPC/DMPG, in the liquid crystalline state. The results demonstrate that in DMPC all three peptides are surface adsorbed over a range of low peptide concentrations but insert into the bilayers at high peptide concentrations. This finding is corroborated by 31P-solid-state NMR data of the three peptides in DMPC, which shows that at high peptide concentrations the peptides perturb the membrane. Oriented circular dichroism data of the aurein peptides in 1:1 DMPC/DMPG, on the other hand, show that the peptides with amidated C-termini readily insert into the membrane bilayers over the concentration range studied (P/L = 1:15-1:120), whereas the aurein 2.3 peptide with a carboxy C-terminus inserts at a threshold concentration of P/L* between 1:80 and 1:120. Overall, the data presented here suggest that all three peptides studied interact with phosphatidylcholine membranes in a manner which is similar to aurein 1.2 and citropin 1.1, as reported in the literature, with no correlation to the reported activity. On the other hand, both aurein 2.2 and aurein 2.3 behave similarly in phosphatidylcholine/ phosphatidylglycerol (PC/PG) membranes, whereas aurein 2.3-COOH inserts less readily. As this does not correlate with reported activities, minimal inhibitory concentrations of the three peptides against Staphylococcus aureus (strain C622, ATCC 25923) and Staphylococcus epidermidis (strain C621-clinical isolate) were determined. The correlation between structure, membrane interaction, and activity are discussed in light of these results.
ASJC Scopus subject areas