Synthetic peptides derived from human and bovine lactoferricin, as well as tritrpticin sequences, were assayed for antimicrobial activity against wild-type Escherichia coli and LPS mutant strains. Antimicrobial activity was only obtained with peptides derived from the bovine lactoferricin sequence and peptides corresponding to chimeras of human and bovine sequences. None of the peptides corresponding to different regions of native human lactoferricin showed any antimicrobial activity. The results underline the importance of the content of tryptophan and arginine residues, and the relative location of these residues for antimicrobial activity. Results obtained for the same assays performed with LPS mutants suggest that lipid A is not the main binding site for lactoferricin which interacts first with the negative charges present in the inner core. Computer modelling of the most active peptides led to a model in which positively charged residues of the cationic peptide interact with negative charges carried by the LPS to disorganise the structure of the outer membrane and facilitate the approach of tryptophan residues to the lipid A in order to promote hydrophobic interactions.
- Cationic antimicrobial peptides
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology