Clavanins is a class of peptides (23aa) histidine-rich, free of post-translational modifications. Clavanins have been studied largely for their ability to disrupt bacterial membranes. In the present study, the interaction of clavanin A with membranes was assessed by dynamic light scattering, zeta potential and permeabilization assays. We observed through those assays that clavanin A lysis bacterial cells at concentrations corresponding to its MIC. Further, the structure and function of clavanin A was investigated. To better understand how clavanin interacted with bacteria, its NMR structure was elucidated. The solution state NMR structure of clavanin A in the presence of TFE-d 3 indicated an α-helical conformation. Secondary structures, based on circular dichroism measurements in anionic sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) and TFE (2,2,2-trifluorethanol), in silico lipid-peptide docking and molecular simulations with lipids DPPC and DOPC revealed that clavanin A can adopt a variety of folds, possibly influencing its different functions. Microcalorimetry assays revealed that clavanin A was capable of discriminating between different lipids. Finally, clavanin A was found to eradicate bacterial biofilms representing a previously unrecognized function.
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