ABSTRACT: Histone-derived antimicrobial peptides have been identified in various organisms from plants to humans. The rat histone H4 mRNA variants, H4-v.1 and rat histogranin (HNr) mRNAs, were recently reported to be involved in the synthesis of H4-(86-100) and its related peptide HNr, respectively. Herein, the two peptides were investigated for putative antimicrobial activity and found to inhibit growth of gram-negative (Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa) and gram-positive (Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus) bacteria. Their inhibitory potencies in E. coli (LD(50): 3.48 and 4.34 microg x mL(-1)) are comparable to that of the antimicrobial peptide LL-37 (LD(50): 4.10 microg x mL(-1)). The antimicrobial activities of H4-(86-100) and HNr depend upon the integrity of the molecules, as precursors [H4-(84-102), pro-HNr] and fragments [bovine histogranin (HNb)-(1-13), HNb-(3-13), H4-(89-102) or OGP] are at least five times less potent than the parent peptides. Among various HN-like compounds, cyclo-(-Gly-pCl-Phe-Tyr-D-Arg) (compound 3) and N-5-guanidino pentanamide-(2R)-yl-2-N-(p-hydroxyphenylacetyl)-4-(p-chlorobenzoyl)-phenylene diamine (compound 8) display antimicrobial activities comparable to that of HNr. Interestingly, the antimicrobial activities of H4-(86-100), HNr and compound 3, like those of quinolone antibiotics acting as DNA gyrase poisons, are potentiated by ATP (1 mM) and coumermycin A1 (a DNA gyrase-linked ATPase inhibitor) and blocked by 2,4-dinitrophenol (DNP, an uncoupler of oxidative phosphorylation) and fluoroacetic acid (a metabolic poison). Finally, in vitro experiments indicate that H4-(86-100), HNr, compound 3 and compound 8, but not HNb-(1-13) or HNb-(3-13), inhibit DNA gyrase-mediated supercoiling of pBR322 DNA. These data indicate that the naturally occurring H4-(86-100) and HNr display antimicrobial effects that involve a modulation of ATP-dependent DNA gyrase.
FEBS Journal 10/2008; 275(21):5286-97. · 3.79 Impact Factor