[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Domain formation in bacteria-mimetic membranes due to cationic peptide binding was recently proposed based on calorimetric data. We now use (2)H solid-state NMR to critically examine the presence and absence of domains in bacterial membranes containing zwitterionic 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphatidylethanolamine (POPE) and anionic 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphatidylglycerol (POPG) lipids. Chain-perdeuterated POPE and POPG are used in single-component membranes, binary POPE/POPG (3:1) membranes, and membranes containing one of four cationic peptides: two antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) of the β-hairpin family of protegrin-1 (PG-1), and two cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs), HIV TAT and penetratin. (2)H quadrupolar couplings were measured to determine the motional amplitudes of POPE and POPG acyl chains as a function of temperature. Homogeneously mixed POPE/POPG membranes should give the same quadrupolar couplings for the two lipids, whereas the presence of membrane domains enriched in one of the two lipids should cause distinct (2)H quadrupolar couplings that reflect different chain disorder. At physiological temperature (308 K), we observed no or only small coupling differences between POPE and POPG in the presence of any of the cationic peptides. However, around ambient temperature (293 K), at which gel- and liquid-crystalline phases coexist in the peptide-free POPE/POPG membrane, the peptides caused distinct quadrupolar couplings for the two lipids, indicating domain formation. The broad-spectrum antimicrobial peptide PG-1 ordered ∼40% of the POPE lipids while disordering POPG. The Gram-negative selective PG-1 mutant, IB549, caused even larger differences in the POPE and POPG disorder: ∼80% of POPE partitioned into the ordered phase, whereas all of the POPG remained in the disordered phase. In comparison, TAT rigidified POPE and POPG similarly in the binary membrane at ambient temperature, indicating that TAT does not cause dynamic heterogeneity but interacts with the membrane with a different mechanism. Penetratin maintained the POPE order but disordered POPG, suggesting moderate domain separation. These results provide insight into the extent of domain formation in bacterial membranes and the possible peptide structural requirements for this phenomenon.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Peptides of the innate immune system provide intriguing templates for designing novel antiviral molecules. θ-defensins are nonhuman primate peptides with broad-spectrum antiviral activities. The activity of these compounds is mediated through interference with viral fusion, and this activity is based upon key structural features. However, two major limitations to their clinical use hampered their development as potential antivirals, namely difficult multi-step synthesis for their production with low final yield of desired product (~5%), and unfavorable pharmacokinetics (rapid enzymatic degradation and/or renal clearance). Recently we designed and screened two sub-libraries of new peptide-based entry inhibitors mimicking the structure of humanized θ-defensins, designated as Hapivirins (HpVs) and Diprovirins (DpVs). Although the new peptides are smaller (13-residues) and structurally more simple than retrocyclins, several retained their ability to protect cells from infection by HIV-1 and HSV-2. The most active compound, DpV16, was chosen for a second round of modifications based on (1) its potent antiviral activity (2) its ease of synthesis, and (3) the low cost of production. Subsequently, we created a library of a second generation DpV-analogues with enhanced properties. Collectively, our findings to date suggest that simplified θ-defensins are suitable candidates for further modifications to obtain analogues with clinically favorable pharmacokinetics that may be produced in large quantities using a standard chemical approach. Considering their small size, they could be used either topically (topical microbicides) and/or for systemic applications (entry inhibitors).
International Journal of Peptide Research and Therapeutics 08/2013; 17(4). · 1.28 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Domain formation in bacteria-mimetic membranes due to cationic peptide binding was recently proposed based on calorimetric data. We now use 2H solid-state NMR to critically examine the presence and absence of domains in bacterial membranes containing zwitterionic 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphatidylethanolamine (POPE) and anionic 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphatidylglycerol (POPG) lipids. Chain-perdeuterated POPE and POPG are used in single-component membranes, binary POPE/POPG (3:1) membranes, and membranes containing one of four cationic peptides: two antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) of the β-hairpin family of protegrin-1 (PG-1), and two cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs), HIV TAT and penetratin. 2H quadrupolar couplings were measured to determine the motional amplitudes of POPE and POPG acyl chains as a function of temperature. Homogeneously mixed POPE/POPG membranes should give the same quadrupolar couplings for the two lipids, whereas the presence of membrane domains enriched in one of the two lipids should cause distinct 2H quadrupolar couplings that reflect different chain disorder. At physiological temperature (308 K), we observed no or only small coupling differences between POPE and POPG in the presence of any of the cationic peptides. However, around ambient temperature (293 K), at which gel- and liquid-crystalline phases coexist in the peptide-free POPE/POPG membrane, the peptides caused distinct quadrupolar couplings for the two lipids, indicating domain formation. The broad-spectrum antimicrobial peptide PG-1 ordered ∼40% of the POPE lipids while disordering POPG. The Gram-negative selective PG-1 mutant, IB549, caused even larger differences in the POPE and POPG disorder: ∼80% of POPE partitioned into the ordered phase, whereas all of the POPG remained in the disordered phase. In comparison, TAT rigidified POPE and POPG similarly in the binary membrane at ambient temperature, indicating that TAT does not cause dynamic heterogeneity but interacts with the membrane with a different mechanism. Penetratin maintained the POPE order but disordered POPG, suggesting moderate domain separation. These results provide insight into the extent of domain formation in bacterial membranes and the possible peptide structural requirements for this phenomenon.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fusion inhibitors are a class of antiretroviral drugs used to prevent entry of HIV into host cells. Many of the fusion inhibitors being developed, including the drug enfuvirtide, are peptides designed to competitively inhibit the viral fusion protein gp41. With the emergence of drug resistance, there is an increased need for effective and unique alternatives within this class of antivirals. One such alternative is a class of cyclic, cationic, antimicrobial peptides known as θ-defensins, which are produced by many non-human primates and exhibit broad-spectrum antiviral and antibacterial activity. Currently, the θ-defensin analog RC-101 is being developed as a microbicide due to its specific antiviral activity, lack of toxicity to cells and tissues, and safety in animals. Understanding potential RC-101 resistance, and how resistance to other fusion inhibitors affects RC-101 susceptibility, is critical for future development. In previous studies, we identified a mutant, R5-tropic virus that had evolved partial resistance to RC-101 during in vitro selection. Here, we report that a secondary mutation in gp41 was found to restore replicative fitness, membrane fusion, and the rate of viral entry, which were compromised by an initial mutation providing partial RC-101 resistance. Interestingly, we show that RC-101 is effective against two enfuvirtide-resistant mutants, demonstrating the clinical importance of RC-101 as a unique fusion inhibitor. These findings both expand our understanding of HIV drug-resistance to diverse peptide fusion inhibitors and emphasize the significance of compensatory gp41 mutations.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(2):e55478. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Breathing is enabled by lung surfactant, a mixture of proteins and lipids that forms a surface-active layer and reduces surface tension at the air-water interface in lungs. Surfactant protein B (SP-B) is an essential component of lung surfactant. In this study we probe the mechanism underlying the important functional contributions made by the N-terminal 7 residues of SP-B, a region sometimes called the "insertion sequence". These studies employed a construct of SP-B, SP-B (1-25,63-78), also called Super Mini-B, which is a 41-residue peptide with internal disulfide bonds comprising the N-terminal 7-residue insertion sequence and the N- and C-terminal helices of SP-B. Circular dichroism, solution NMR, and solid state (2)H NMR were used to study the structure of SP-B (1-25,63-78) and its interactions with phospholipid bilayers. Comparison of results for SP-B (8-25,63-78) and SP-B (1-25,63-78) demonstrates that the presence of the 7-residue insertion sequence induces substantial disorder near the centre of the lipid bilayer, but without a major disruption of the overall mechanical orientation of the bilayers. This observation suggests the insertion sequence is unlikely to penetrate deeply into the bilayer. The 7-residue insertion sequence substantially increases the solution NMR linewidths, most likely due to an increase in global dynamics.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(9):e72821. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The hydrophobic lung surfactant protein, SP-B, is essential for survival. Cycling of lung volume during respiration requires a surface-active lipid-protein layer at the alveolar air-water interface. SP-B may contribute to surfactant layer maintenance and renewal by facilitating contact and transfer between the surface layer and bilayer reservoirs of surfactant material. However, only small effects of SP-B on phospholipid orientational order in model systems have been reported. In this study, N-terminal (SP-B(8-25)) and C-terminal (SP-B(63-78)) helices of SP-B, either linked as Mini-B or unlinked but present in equal amounts, were incorporated into either model phospholipid mixtures or into bovine lipid extract surfactant in the form of vesicle dispersions or mechanically oriented bilayer samples. Deuterium and phosphorus nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) were used to characterize effects of these peptides on phospholipid chain orientational order, headgroup orientation, and the response of lipid-peptide mixtures to mechanical orientation by mica plates. Only small effects on chain orientational order or headgroup orientation, in either vesicle or mechanically oriented samples, were seen. In mechanically constrained samples, however, Mini-B and its component helices did have specific effects on the propensity of lipid-peptide mixtures to form unoriented bilayer populations which do not exchange with the oriented fraction on the timescale of the NMR experiment. Modification of local bilayer orientation, even in the presence of mechanical constraint, may be relevant to the transfer of material from bilayer reservoirs to a flat surface-active layer, a process that likely requires contact facilitated by the formation of highly curved protrusions.
Biophysics of Structure and Mechanism 08/2012; 41(9):755-67. · 2.44 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We investigated a model of acute respiratory distress syndrome in which the serum protein albumin adsorbs to an air-liquid interface and prevents the thermodynamically preferable adsorption of the clinical lung surfactant Survanta by inducing steric and electrostatic energy barriers analogous to those that prevent colloidal aggregation. Chitosan and polyethylene glycol (PEG), two polymers that traditionally have been used to aggregate colloids, both allow Survanta to quantitatively displace albumin from the interface, but through two distinct mechanisms. Direct visualization with confocal microscopy shows that the polycation chitosan coadsorbs to interfacial layers of both Survanta and albumin, and also colocalizes with the anionic domains of Survanta at the air-liquid interface, consistent with it eliminating the electrostatic repulsion by neutralizing the surface charges on albumin and Survanta. In contrast, the PEG distribution does not change during the displacement of albumin by Survanta, consistent with PEG inducing a depletion attraction sufficient to overcome the repulsive energy barrier toward adsorption.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: SP-B(CTERM) is a cationic amphipathic helical peptide and functional fragment composed of residues 63 to 78 of surfactant protein B (SP-B). Static oriented and magic angle spinning solid state NMR, along with molecular dynamics simulation was used to investigate its structure, orientation, and depth in lipid bilayers of several compositions, namely POPC, DPPC, DPPC/POPC/POPG, and bovine lung surfactant extract (BLES). In all lipid environments the peptide was oriented parallel to the membrane surface. While maintaining this approximately planar orientation, SP-B(CTERM) exhibited a flexible topology controlled by subtle variations in lipid composition. SP-B(CTERM)-induced lipid realignment and/or conformational changes at the level of the head group were observed using (31)P solid-state NMR spectroscopy. Measurements of the depth of SP-B(CTERM) indicated the peptide center positions ~8Å more deeply than the phosphate headgroups, a topology that may allow the peptide to promote functional lipid structures without causing micellization upon compression.
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 01/2012; 1818(5):1165-72. · 4.66 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The size distribution of domains in phase-separated lung surfactant monolayers influences monolayer viscoelasticity and compressibility which, in turn, influence monolayer collapse and set the compression at which the minimum surface tension is reached. The surfactant-specific protein SP-B decreases the mean domain size and polydispersity as shown by fluorescence microscopy. From the images, the line tension and dipole density difference are determined by comparing the measured size distributions with a theory derived by minimizing the free energy associated with the domain energy and mixing entropy. We find that SP-B increases the line tension, dipole density difference, and the compressibility modulus at surface pressures up to the squeeze-out pressure. The increase in line tension due to SP-B indicates the protein avoids domain boundaries due to its solubility in the more fluid regions of the film.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We investigated the effects of KL₄, a 21-residue amphipathic peptide approximating the overall ratio of positively charged to hydrophobic amino acids in surfactant protein B (SP-B), on the structure and collapse of dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine and palmitoyl-oleoyl-phosphatidylglycerol monolayers. As reported in prior work on model lung surfactant phospholipid films containing SP-B and SP-B peptides, our experiments show that KL₄ improves surfactant film reversibility during repetitive interfacial cycling in association with the formation of reversible collapse structures on multiple length scales. Emphasis is on exploring a general mechanistic connection between peptide-induced nano- and microscale reversible collapse structures (silos and folds).
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper reports the chemical synthesis and purification of a novel phospholipase-resistant C16:0, C16:1 diether phosphonoglycerol with structural analogy to ester-linked anionic phosphatidylglycerol (PG) in endogenous pulmonary surfactant. This diether phosphonoglycerol (PG 1) is studied for phospholipase A(2) (PLA(2)) resistance and for surface activity in synthetic exogenous surfactants combined with Super Mini-B (S-MB) peptide and DEPN-8, a previously-reported diether phosphonolipid analog of dipalmitoyl phosphatidylcholine (DPPC, the major zwitterionic phospholipid in native lung surfactant). Activity experiments measured both adsorption and dynamic surface tension lowering due to the known importance of these surface behaviors in lung surfactant function in vivo. Synthetic surfactants containing 9 : 1 DEPN-8:PG 1 + 3% S-MB were resistant to degradation by PLA(2) in chromatographic studies, while calf lung surfactant extract (CLSE, the substance of the bovine clinical surfactant Infasurf®) was significantly degraded by PLA(2). The 9 : 1 DEPN-8:PG 1 + 3% S-MB mixture also had small but consistent increases in both adsorption and dynamic surface tension lowering ability compared to DEPN-8 + 3% S-MB. Consistent with these surface activity increases, molecular dynamics simulations using Protein Modeller, GROMACS force-field, and PyMOL showed that bilayers containing DPPC and palmitoyl-oleoyl-PC (POPC) as surrogates of DEPN-8 and PG 1 were penetrated to a greater extent by S-MB peptide than bilayers of DPPC alone. These results suggest that PG 1 or related anionic phosphono-PG analogs may have functional utility in phospholipase-resistant synthetic surfactants targeting forms of acute pulmonary injury where endogenous surfactant becomes dysfunctional due to phospholipase activity in the innate inflammatory response.
Medicinal Chemistry Communication 12/2011; 2(12):1167-1173. · 2.72 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It has long been suggested that pore formation is responsible for the increase in membrane permeability by antimicrobial peptides (AMPs). To better understand the mechanism of AMP activity, the disruption of model membrane by protegrin-1 (PG-1), a cationic antimicrobial peptide, was studied using atomic force microscopy. We present here the direct visualization of the full range of structural transformations in supported lipid bilayer patches induced by PG-1 on zwitterionic 1,2-dimyristoyl-snglycero-phospho-choline (DMPC) membranes. When PG-1 is added to DMPC, the peptide first induces edge instability at low concentrations, then pore-like surface defects at intermediate concentrations, and finally wormlike structures with a specific length scale at high concentrations. The formation of these structures can be understood using a mesophase framework of a binary mixture of lipids and peptides, where PG-1 acts as a line-active agent. Atomistic molecular dynamics simulations on lipid bilayer ribbons with PG-1 molecules placed at the edge or interior positions are carried out to calculate the effect of PG-1 in reducing line tension. Further investigation of the placement of PG-1 and its association with defects in the bilayer is carried out using unbiased assembly of a PG-1 containing bilayer from a random mixture of PG-1, DMPC, and water. A generalized model of AMP induced structural transformations is also presented in this work. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Membrane protein structure and function.
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 11/2011; 1818(2):194-204. · 4.66 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Iron overload is the hallmark of hereditary hemochromatosis and a complication of iron-loading anemias such as β-thalassemia. Treatment can be burdensome and have significant side effects, and new therapeutic options are needed. Iron overload in hereditary hemochromatosis and β-thalassemia intermedia is caused by hepcidin deficiency. Although transgenic hepcidin replacement in mouse models of these diseases prevents iron overload or decreases its potential toxicity, natural hepcidin is prohibitively expensive for human application and has unfavorable pharmacologic properties. Here, we report the rational design of hepcidin agonists based on the mutagenesis of hepcidin and the hepcidin-binding region of ferroportin and computer modeling of their docking. We identified specific hydrophobic/aromatic residues required for hepcidin-ferroportin binding and obtained evidence in vitro that a thiol-disulfide interaction between ferroportin C326 and the hepcidin disulfide cage may stabilize binding. Guided by this model, we showed that 7–9 N-terminal amino acids of hepcidin, including a single thiol cysteine, comprised the minimal structure that retained hepcidin activity, as shown by the induction of ferroportin degradation in reporter cells. Further modifications to increase resistance to proteolysis and oral bioavailability yielded minihepcidins that, after parenteral or oral administration to mice, lowered serum iron levels comparably to those after parenteral native hepcidin. Moreover, liver iron concentrations were lower in mice chronically treated with minihepcidins than those in mice treated with solvent alone. Minihepcidins may be useful for the treatment of iron overload disorders.
The Journal of clinical investigation 11/2011; 121(12):4880-8. · 15.39 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nasal colonization of Staphylococcus aureus is a risk factor for pathogenic autoinfection, particularly in postoperative patients and the immunocompromised. As such, standardized preoperative nasal decolonization of S. aureus has become a major consideration for the prevention of nosocomial infection. However, only a few treatment options for nasal decolonization are currently available, with resistance to these approaches already a concern. Here we have identified the macrocyclic -defensin analogue RC-101 as a promising anti-S. aureus agent for nasal decolonization. RC-101 exhibits bactericidal effects against S. aureus with the use of in vitro epithelium-free systems, while also preventing the pathogen's proliferation and attachment in an ex vivo human nasal epithelial cell adhesion model and an organotypic model of human airway epithelia. Peptide concentrations as low as 2.5 μM elicited significant reductions in S. aureus growth in epithelium-free systems, with 10 μM concentrations being completely bactericidal for all strains tested, including USA300. In ex vivo nasal colonization models, RC-101 significantly reduced adherence, survival, and proliferation of S. aureus on human nasal epithelia. Reductions in S. aureus viability were evident in these assays, with as little as 1 μg of peptide per tissue, while 10 μg of RC-101 completely prevented adhesion of all strains tested. Furthermore, RC-101 did not exhibit cellular toxicity to human nasal epithelia at concentrations up to 200 μM, nor did it induce a proinflammatory response in these cells. Collectively, the findings of this study identify RC-101 as a potential preventative of S. aureus nasal colonization.
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 08/2011; 55(11):5338-46. · 4.57 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pulmonary surfactant is a complex lipid-protein mixture whose main function is to reduce the surface tension at the air-liquid interface of alveoli to minimize the work of breathing. The exact mechanism by which surfactant monolayers and multilayers are formed and how they lower surface tension to very low values during lateral compression remains uncertain. We used time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry to study the lateral organization of lipids and peptide in surfactant preparations ranging in complexity. We show that we can successfully determine the location of phospholipids, cholesterol and a peptide in surfactant Langmuir-Blodgett films and we can determine the effect of cholesterol and peptide addition. A thorough understanding of the lateral organization of PS interfacial films will aid in our understanding of the role of each component as well as different lipid-lipid and lipid-protein interactions. This may further our understanding of pulmonary surfactant function.
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 03/2011; 1808(3):614-21. · 4.66 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The structural basis for the gram selectivity of two disulfide-bonded β-hairpin antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) is investigated using solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. The hexa-arginine PG-1 exhibits potent activities against both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, while a mutant of PG-1 with only three cationic residues maintains gram-positive activity but is 30-fold less active against gram-negative bacteria. We determined the topological structure and lipid interactions of these two peptides in a lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-rich membrane that mimics the outer membrane of gram-negative bacteria and in the POPE/POPG membrane, which mimics the membrane of gram-positive bacteria. (31)P NMR line shapes indicate that both peptides cause less orientational disorder in the LPS-rich membrane than in the POPE/POPG membrane. (13)C chemical shifts and (13)C-(1)H dipolar couplings show that both peptides maintain their β-hairpin conformation in these membranes and are largely immobilized, but the mutant exhibits noticeable intermediate-time scale motion in the LPS membrane at physiological temperature, suggesting shallow insertion. Indeed, (1)H spin diffusion from lipid chains to the peptides shows that PG-1 fully inserts into the LPS-rich membrane whereas the mutant does not. The (13)C-(31)P distances between the most hydrophobically embedded Arg of PG-1 and the lipid (31)P are significantly longer in the LPS membrane than in the POPE/POPG membrane, indicating that PG-1 does not cause toroidal pore defects in the LPS membrane, in contrast to its behavior in the POPE/POPG membrane. Taken together, these data indicate that PG-1 causes transmembrane pores of the barrel-stave type in the LPS membrane, thus allowing further translocation of the peptide into the inner membrane of gram-negative bacteria to kill the cells. In comparison, the less cationic mutant cannot fully cross the LPS membrane because of weaker electrostatic attractions, thus causing weaker antimicrobial activities. Therefore, strong electrostatic attraction between the peptide and the membrane surface, ensured by having a sufficient number of Arg residues, is essential for potent antimicrobial activities against gram-negative bacteria. The data provide a rational basis for controlling gram selectivity of AMPs by adjusting the charge densities.