[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Malaria is an infectious disease for which effective treatment and prevention strategies remain limited. Our group recently reported that angiotensin II (AII) presents antiplasmodial activity and inhibits the development of Plasmodium gallinaceum in Aedes aegypti. However, details concerning role of each amino acid residue in the antiplasmodial activity of the peptide and information about the minimal structure responsible for this activity remain unknown. In this work, we investigated the effects of specific deletions (i.e., mono-, di-, tri- and tetra-deletions) of AII amino acids on the antiplasmodial activity of this molecule. The peptides were synthesized on solid phase method using the t-Boc strategy, purified using high performance liquid chromatography and characterized using mass spectrometry. The lytic activity of the peptides was assessed in vitro using mature sporozoites extracted from the salivary glands of infected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. The results demonstrate that all of the deletions reduced antiplasmodial activity compared to native AII and that active analogs tend to adopt β-turn conformations; however, the deletion of bulky hydrophobic residues causes greater reductions of bioactivity than the deletion of hydrophilic residues. Corroborating previous studies, we observed that analog extremities are susceptible to changes and can be carefully modified without compromising the activity of this compound. This research contributes to our understanding of the role of each AII amino acid residue in activity against Plasmodium gallinaceum and identifies two short analogs with similar antiplasmodial activity to AII. These analogs may be candidates for additional antimalarial assays because they are inexpensive and easy to synthesize.
International Journal of Peptide Research and Therapeutics 12/2014; 20(4). · 0.83 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Malaria is caused by the protozoa Plasmodium and is responsible for approximately one million deaths annually. The antimalarial effects of angiotensin II and its analogs against Plasmodium
gallinaceum and falciparum have recently been reported. Here, 12 angiotensin II restricted analogs that contain i − (i + 2), i − (i + 3) and i − (i + 4) lactam bridges were synthesized to analyze their effect on antiplasmodial activity. To accomplish this, peptides containing two amino acid residues (aspartic or glutamic acids and lysine or ornithine), were synthesized by the t-Boc solid phase method, purified by liquid chromatography, and characterized by mass spectrometry, and conformational studies were performed by circular dichroism. The results indicate that some of the analogs had anti-plasmodium activity similar to angiotensin II (88 % activity). Among those, eight compounds exhibited high activity (>70 %), measured by fluorescence microscopy. The analogs with smaller lactam rings and an aspartic acid residue as the bridgehead element had lower levels of lytic activity. The results obtained with the new restricted analogs showed that the insertion position (near the N-terminus), the ring size, and the number of residues between the rings are as important as the components of lactam bridge, regardless of their chirality. The circular dichroism studies suggest that the active analogs, and native angiotensin II, adopt a β-fold conformation in different solutions. In conclusion, this approach provides insight for understanding the effects of restricting the ring size and position on the bioactivity of angiotensin II and provides a new direction for the design of potential chemotherapeutic agents.
International Journal of Peptide Research and Therapeutics 09/2014; 20(3). · 0.83 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Malaria is an infectious disease responsible for approximately one million deaths annually. The antimalarial effects of angiotensin II and its analogs against Plasmodium gallinaceum and P. falciparum have recently been reported. To evaluate anti-plasmodial activity, we synthesized five angiotensin II restricted analogs that containing disulfide bridges. To accomplish this, peptides containing two inserted amino acid residues (cysteine), were synthesized by the Fmoc solid phase method, purified by liquid chromatography, and characterized by mass spectrometry. Conformational studies were performed by circular dichroism. The results indicated that two of the analogs had higher anti-plasmodium activity (92% and 98% activity) than angiotensin II (88% activity), measured by fluorescence microscopy. Results showed that the insertion position must be selected, to preserve the hydrophobic interactions between the nonpolar residues, as this affects anti-plasmodial activity. The circular dichroism studies suggested that the active analogs as well as the native angiotensin II adopt a β-turn conformation in different solutions. This approach provided insight for understanding the effects of restricting the ring size and position on the bioactivity of angiotensin II and provides a new direction for the design of potential chemotherapeutic agents. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Chemical Biology & Drug Design 05/2014; · 2.51 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Antimicrobial peptides are part of the innate immune system of animals and plants. Their lytic activity against microorganisms generally depends on their ability to disrupt and permeabilize membranes. Here we study the structure-activity relationship of the antimicrobial peptide gomesin (Gm), from the spider Acanthoscurria gomesiana, with large unilamellar vesicles (LUVs) composed of 3:7 palmitoyloleoyl phosphatidylglycerol : palmitoyloleoyl phosphatidylcholine. Several synthetic analogues of Gm were designed to alter the hydrophobicity/charge of the molecule, whereby selected amino acid residues were replaced by alanine. Isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) was used to assess the thermodynamic parameters of peptide binding to LUVs and light scattering measurements were made to evaluated peptide-induced vesicle aggregation. The ability of the peptides to permeabilize vesicles was quantified through the leakage of an entrapped fluorescent probe. The activity of peptides could be quantified in terms of the leakage extent induced and their affinity to the membrane, which was largely dictated by the exothermic enthalpy change. The results show that analogues more hydrophobic than Gm display higher activity, whereas peptides more hydrophilic than Gm have their activity almost abolished. Vesicle aggregation, on the other hand, largely increases with peptide charge. We conclude that interaction of Gm with membranes depends on an interplay between surface electrostatic interactions, which drive anchoring to the membrane surface and vesicle aggregation, and insertion of the hydrophobic portion into the membrane core, responsible for causing membrane rupture/permeabilization.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many reports have shown that antimicrobial peptides exhibit anticancer abilities. Gomesin (Gm) exhibits potent cytotoxic activity against cancer cells by a membrane pore formation induced after well-orchestrated intracellular mechanisms. In this report, the replacements of the Cys by Ser or Thr, and the use D-amino acids in the Gm structure were done to investigate the importance of the resistance to degradation of the molecule with its cytotoxicity. [Thr(2,6,11,15)]-Gm, and [Ser(2,6,11,15)]-Gm exhibits low cytotoxicity, and low resistance to degradation, and after 24 h are present in localized area near to the membrane. Conversely, the use of D-amino acids in the analogue [D-Thr(2,6,11,15)]-D-Gm confers resistance to degradation, increases its potency, and maintained this peptide spread in the cytosol similarly to what happens with Gm. Replacements of Cys by Thr and Gln by L- or D-Pro ([D-Thr(2,6,11,15), Pro(9)]-D-Gm, and [Thr(2,6,11,15), D-Pro(9)]-Gm), which induced a similar β-hairpin conformation, also increase their resistance to degradation, and cytotoxicity, but after 24 h they are not present spread in the cytosol, exhibiting lower cytotoxicity in comparison to Gm. Additionally, chloroquine, a lysosomal enzyme inhibitor potentiated the effect of the peptides. Furthermore, the binding and internalization of peptides was determined, but a direct correlation among these factors was not observed. However, cholesterol ablation, which increase fluidity of cellular membrane, also increase cytotoxicity and internalization of peptides. β-hairpin spatial conformation, and intracellular localization/target, and the capability of entry are important properties of gomesin cytotoxicity.
PLoS ONE 11/2013; 8(11):e80924. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this study we have isolated and identified strains of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) that are potential bacteriocin producers from rocket salad samples acquired in Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil. Using the PCR-ARDRA method, Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis MK02R was identified and characterized as the only bacteriocinogenic among 12 strains initially isolated. The analysis of the antimicrobial peptide produced by MK02R revealed the presence of nisin variant, a well-known lantibiotic, and one of the most studied and important antimicrobial peptides known today. The bacteriocin MK02R showed heat stability for 1 h at 60 °C and 100 °C and it was inactivated by treatment with proteolytic enzymes. The antimicrobial activity did not change with pH adjustment between 2.0 and 9.0 and the production was stimulated by the addition of 0.5 and 1.0% cysteine in MRS broth at 37 °C. Bacteriocin MK02R inhibited the growth of Enterococcus faecium, Lactobacillus sakei, Lactobacillus delbrueckii, Lb. sakei subsp. sakei, Listeria innocua and Listeria monocytogenes from different serological groups. Low levels of adsorption of bacteriocin MK02R were detected in the cell surface of the producer cells suggesting that bacteriocin MK02R remains bound to the outer surface and that it is released when the pH of the environment increases. The chromatographic studies and the genetic tests using primers nisF and nisR related to specific genes of nisin production confirmed that the antimicrobial MK02R is a natural variant of nisin. The partial sequencing of the reconstructed protein showed that the peptide has an amino acid change in the sequence of the leader peptide compared with nisin A, Z, Q, U and F, but the structure of the mature is homologous to that of nisin F.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Leptin is a cytokine that regulates food intake, energy expenditure and hematopoiesis. Based on the tridimensional structure of the human leptin molecule, six fragments have been synthesized, (Ac-Lep23-47-NH2, [LEP1]; Ac-Lep48-71-NH2, [LEP2]; Ac-Lep72-88-NH2, [LEP3]; Ac-Lep92-115-NH2, [LEP4], Ac-[Ser(117)]-Lep116-140-NH2, [LEP5] and Ac-Lep141-164-NH2, [LEP6]), and their effects on hematopoiesis were evaluated. The mice were treated with 1mg/kg LEP5 for 3 days. The mature and primitive hematopoietic populations were quantified. We observed that the mature populations from the bone marrow and spleen were not affected by LEP5. However, the peptide caused at least a two-fold increase in the number of hematopoietic stem cells, the most primitive population of the bone marrow. Additionally, the number of granulocyte/macrophage colony-forming units produced by bone marrow cells in methylcellulose also increased by 40% after treatment with LEP5, and the leptin receptor was activated. These results show that the leptin fragment LEP5 is a positive modulator of the in vivo expansion of hematopoietic stem cells.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Gomesin is a potent cationic antimicrobial peptide (z = +6) isolated from the Brazilian spider Acanthoscurria gomesiana. The interaction of gomesin with large unilamellar vesicles (LUVs) composed of a 1:1 mixture of zwitterionic (POPC) and anionic (POPG) phospholipids is studied with isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC). In parallel, light scattering and optical microscopy are used to assess peptide-induced vesicle aggregation. The ability of gomesin to permeabilize the membrane is examined with fluorescence spectroscopy of the leakage of carboxyfluorescein (CF). Vesicles coated with 3 mol% PE-PEG lipids are also investigated to assess the influence of peptide-induced vesicle aggregation in the activity of gomesin. The ITC and light scattering titrations are done in two ways: lipid into peptide and peptide into lipid injections. Although some differences arise between the two setups, the basic interaction of gomesin with anionic vesicles is preserved. A surface partition model combined with the Gouy-Chapman theory is put forward to fit the ITC results. The intrinsic binding constant of gomesin is found to be K ~ 10^3 M-1. The interaction of gomesin with anionic membranes is highly exothermic and enthalpy-driven. Binding of gomesin is virtually always accompanied by vesicle aggregation and changes in membrane permeability leading to CF leakage. Addition of PE-PEG to the membrane strongly attenuates vesicle aggregation but does not change significantly the mode of action of gomesin. The results point to a strong interaction of gomesin with the membrane surface, causing membrane rupture without a deep penetration into the bilayer core.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Leukemias are the most common malignancy of childhood and have the highest mortality among aging people. Leukemias are a group of blood disorders characterized by an accumulation of leukemic cells in the peripheral blood of patients as a result of disturbances in proliferation and differentiation. Refractory leukemia remains the most common therapeutic challenge. In recent years, the presence of a cancer stem cell population in leukemias has been proposed as a cause for the refractory phenomenon. Insights into the cellular and molecular features of leukemia led to a new point of view in the choice of novel therapeutic agents. New agents for the treatment of this disease should selectively target leukemia stem cells or exhibit higher cytotoxic effects in cancer cells than in normal cells. A special interest is focused on anticancer agents from biological and natural sources that can be used in the treatment of leukemia. This review discusses the characteristics of some of these potential new agents.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BbKI is a kallikrein inhibitor with a reactive site sequence similar to that of kinins, the vasoactive peptides inserted in kininogen moieties. This structural similarity probably contributes to the strong interaction with plasma kallikrein, the enzyme that releases, from high-molecular weight kininogen (HMWK), the proinflammatory peptide bradykinin, which acts on B(2) receptors (B(2)R). BbKI was examined on smooth muscle contraction and Ca(2+) mobilization, in which the kallikrein-kinin system is involved. Contrary to expectations, BbKI (1.8 μm) increased [Ca(2+)](c) and contraction, as observed with BK (2.0 μm). Not blocked by B(1) receptors (B(1)R), the BbKI agonistic effect was blocked by the B(2)R antagonist, HOE-140 (6 μm), and the involvement of B(2)R was confirmed in B(2)R-knockout mice intestine. The same tissue response was obtained using a synthetic peptide derived from the BbKI reactive site structure, more resistant than BK to angiotensin I-converting enzyme (ACE) hydrolysis. Depending on the concentration, BbKI has a dual effect. At a low concentration, BbKI acts as a potent kallikrein inhibitor; however, due to the similarity to BK, in high concentrations, BbKI greatly increases Ca(2+) release from internal storages, as a consequence of its interaction with B(2)R. Therefore, the antagonistic and agonistic effects of BbKI may be considered in conditions of B(2)R involvement.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In recent years, the antitumoral activity of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) has been the goal of many research studies. Among AMPs, gomesin (Gm) displays antitumor activity by unknown mechanisms. Herein, we studied the cytotoxicity of Gm in the Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell line. Furthermore, we investigated the temporal ordering of organelle changes and the dynamics of Ca(2+) signaling during Gm-induced cell death. The results indicated that Gm binds to the plasma membrane and rapidly translocates into the cytoplasm. Moreover, 20 μM Gm increases the cytosolic Ca(2+) and induces membrane permeabilization after 30 min of treatment. Direct Ca(2+) measurements in CHO cells transfected with the genetically encoded D1-cameleon to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) revealed that Gm induces ER Ca(2+) depletion, which in turn resulted in oscillatory mitochondrial Ca(2+) signal, as measured in cells expressing the genetically encoded probe to the mitochondrial matrix (mit)Pericam. This leads to mitochondria disruption, loss of mitochondrial membrane potential and increased reactive oxygen species prior to membrane permeabilization. Gm-induced membrane permeabilization by a Ca(2+)-dependent pathway involving Gm translocation into the cell, ER Ca(2+) depletion and disruption, mitochondrial Ca(2+) overload and oxidative stress.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Gomesin (Gm) was the first antimicrobial peptide (AMP) isolated from the hemocytes of a spider, the Brazilian mygalomorph Acanthoscurria gomesiana. We have been studying the properties of this interesting AMP, which also displays anticancer, antimalarial, anticryptococcal and anti-Leishmania activities. In the present study, the total syntheses of backbone-cyclized analogues of Gm (two disulfide bonds), [Cys(Acm)(2,15)]-Gm (one disulfide bond) and [Thr(2,6,11,15),(D)-Pro(9)]-Gm (no disulfide bonds) were accomplished, and the impact of cyclization on their properties was examined. The consequence of simultaneous deletion of pGlu(1) and Arg(16) -Glu-Arg(18) -NH(2) on Gm antimicrobial activity and structure was also analyzed. The results obtained showed that the synthetic route that includes peptide backbone cyclization on resin was advantageous and that a combination of 20% DMSO/NMP, EDC/HOBt, 60 °C and conventional heating appears to be particularly suitable for backbone cyclization of bioactive peptides. The biological properties of the Gm analogues clearly revealed that the N-terminal amino acid pGlu(1) and the amidated C-terminal tripeptide Arg(16) -Glu-Arg(18) -NH(2) play a major role in the interaction of Gm with the target membranes. Moreover, backbone cyclization practically did not affect the stability of the peptides in human serum; it also did not affect or enhanced hemolytic activity, but induced selectivity and, in some cases, discrete enhancements of antimicrobial activity and salt tolerance. Because of its high therapeutic index, easy synthesis and lower cost, the [Thr(2,6,11,15),(D)-Pro(9)]-Gm analogue remains the best active Gm-derived AMP developed so far; nevertheless, its elevated instability in human serum may limit its therapeutic potential.
Journal of Peptide Science 08/2012; 18(9):588-98. · 1.86 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A new lectin, BfL, was purified from Bauhinia forficata seeds by ammonium sulfate fractionation, DEAE-Sephadex ion exchange chromatography, Sepharose-4B and chitin affinity chromatographies and Superdex 75 size exclusion chromatography. The molecular homogeneity and purity of BfL were assessed by reversed-phase HPLC. BfL appeared as a single band of approximately 27.0 kDa on SDS-PAGE under non-reducing and reducing conditions, and its molecular weight was determined to be 27,850 Da by LC/ESI-MS. BfL is a glycoprotein with a carbohydrate content of 6.24% determined by the phenol–sulfuric acid method. Fetuin, asialofetuin, thyroglobulin and azocasein inhibited the hemagglutinating activity of BfL, whereas saccharides did not. BfL hemagglutinating activity was stable at 100 °C for 30 min, pH-dependent, with the highest activity at pH 6.0, and metal-independent. The primary structure of BfL shows similarity with other lectins from the genus Bauhinia. Deconvolution of the BfL circular dichroism (CD) spectrum indicated the presence of α-helix and β structures. BfL increases coagulation time, but this effect is not related to human plasma kallikrein or human factor Xa inhibition. BfL also inhibits ADP- and epinephrine-induced platelet aggregation in a dose-dependent manner and is the only currently described lectin from Bauhinia that exhibits anticoagulant and antiplatelet aggregating properties.
PROCESS BIOCHEMISTRY 07/2012; 47(7):1049–1059. · 2.52 Impact Factor