Article

Antifungal peptides at membrane interaction.

Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Salerno, Via Ponte Don Melillo 8, 84024 Fisciano (SA), Italy.
European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry (Impact Factor: 3.43). 03/2012; 51:154-62. DOI: 10.1016/j.ejmech.2012.02.037
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Many drugs are available for the treatment of systemic or superficial mycoses, but only a limited number of them are effective antifungal drugs, devoid of toxic and undesirable side effects. Furthermore, resistance development and fungistatic rather than fungicidal activities represent limitations of current antifungal therapy. Therefore an urgent need for a new generation of antifungal agents remains. We recently synthesised a set of linear and cyclic peptides characterized by sequences typical of membrane-active antimicrobial peptides (AMP). AMT2, cyclo-AMT2, AMT3 and cyclo-AMT3 (Scheme 1) were tested against different yeast species and exhibited general antifungal activity, with a specificity against Cryptococcus neoformans. To evaluate the role of the membrane cell in the mechanism of antifungal activity, we investigated the conformational behaviour of AMT2, cyclo-AMT2, AMT3 and cyclo-AMT3 in different bio-membrane mimicking systems using a combined approach based on spectroscopy and microscopy techniques. Our data highlight the behaviour of the peptides to interact with the bilayer surface, excluding their ability to destabilize or permeabilize the fungal cell wall. Microbial membrane, indeed, may be an important platform for specific interactions of peptides with specific targets involved in the cell wall synthesis.

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    ABSTRACT: Nature has provided inspiration for Drug Discovery studies and amphibian secretions have been used as a promising source of effective peptides which could be explored as novel drug prototypes for neglected parasitic diseases as Leishmaniasis and Chagas disease. In this study, we isolated four antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) from Phyllomedusa nordestina secretion, and studied their effectiveness against Leishmania (L.) infantum and T. cruzi. The antiparasitic fractions were characterized by mass spectrometry and Edman degradation, leading to the identification of dermaseptin 1 and 4 and phylloseptin 7 and 8. Trypanosoma cruzi trypomastigotes were susceptible to peptides, showing IC50 values in the range concentration of 0.25 to 0.68 μM. Leishmania (L.) infantum showed susceptibility to phylloseptin 7, presenting an IC50 value of 10 μM. Except for phylloseptin 7 which moderate showed cytotoxicity (IC50= 34 μM), the peptides induced no cellular damage to mammalian cells. The lack of mitochondrial oxidative activity of parasites detected by the MTT assay, suggested that peptides were leishmanicidal and trypanocidal. By using the fluorescent probe SYTOX(®) Green, dermaseptin 1 and 4 and phylloseptin 7 and 8 showed time-dependent plasma membrane permeabilization of T. cruzi; phylloseptin 7 also showed a similar effect in Leishmania parasites. The present study demonstrates for the first time that AMPs target the plasma membrane of Leishmania and T. cruzi, leading to cellular death. Considering the potential of amphibian peptides against protozoan parasites and the reduced mammalian toxicity, they may contribute as scaffolds for drug design studies.
    Experimental Parasitology 10/2013; · 2.15 Impact Factor

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