Linearized esculentin-2EM shows pH dependent antibacterial activity with an alkaline optimum
Here the hypothesis that linearized esculentin 2EM (E2EM-lin) from Glandirana emeljanovi possesses pH dependent activity is investigated. The peptide showed weak activity against Gram-negative bacteria (MLCs ≥ 75.0 μM) but potent efficacy towards Gram-positive bacteria (MLCs ≤ 6.25 μM). E2EM-lin adopted an α-helical structure in the presence of bacterial membranes that increased as pH was increased from 6 to 8 (↑ 15.5–26.9%), whilst similar increases in pH enhanced the ability of the peptide to penetrate (↑ 2.3–5.1 mN m−1) and lyse (↑ 15.1–32.5%) these membranes. Theoretical analysis predicted that this membranolytic mechanism involved a tilted segment, that increased along the α-helical long axis of E2EM-lin (1–23) in the N → C direction, with − < µH > increasing overall from circa − 0.8 to − 0.3. In combination, these data showed that E2EM-lin killed bacteria via novel mechanisms that were enhanced by alkaline conditions and involved the formation of tilted and membranolytic, α-helical structure. The preference of E2EM-lin for Gram-positive bacteria over Gram-negative organisms was primarily driven by the superior ability of phosphatidylglycerol to induce α-helical structure in the peptide as compared to phosphatidylethanolamine. These data were used to generate a novel pore-forming model for the membranolytic activity of E2EM-lin, which would appear to be the first, major reported instance of pH dependent AMPs with alkaline optima using tilted structure to drive a pore-forming process. It is proposed that E2EM-lin has the potential for development to serve purposes ranging from therapeutic usage, such as chronic wound disinfection, to food preservation by killing food spoilage organisms.
open access article
Citation : Malik, E., Phoenix, D.A., Snape, T.J. et al. (2021) Linearized esculentin-2EM shows pH dependent antibacterial activity with an alkaline optimum. Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry,
Research Institute : Leicester Institute for Pharmaceutical Innovation - From Molecules to Practice (LIPI)
Peer Reviewed : Yes
- Leicester School of Pharmacy