Antibacterial activities and conformations of synthetic alpha-defensin HNP-1 and analogs with one, two and three disulfide bridges

Author(s): Mandal M, Nagaraj R


Structure and biological activities of synthetic peptides corresponding to human alpha-defensin HNP-1, AC1YC2RIPAC3IAGERRYGTC4IYQGRLWAFC5C6 with the S-S connectivities: C1-C6, C2-C4, C3-C5, and its variants with one, two and three disulfide bridges were investigated. Oxidation of synthetic, reduced HNP-1 yielded a peptide with S-S connectivities C1-C3, C2-C4 and C5-C6, and not with the S-S linkages as in naturally occurring HNP-1. Selective protection of cysteine sulfhydryls was necessary for the formation of S-S bridges as in native HNP-1. Likewise, oxidation of peptide encompassing the segment from C2 to C5, resulted in the S-S linkages C2-C3 and C4-C5 instead of the expected linkage C2-C4 and C3-C5. Antibacterial activities were observed for all peptides, irrespective of how the S-S bridges were linked. Linear peptides without S-S bridges were inactive. Circular dichroism (CD) spectra suggest that peptides constrained by one and two S-S bridges do not form rigid beta-sheet structures in an aqueous environment. The spectrum of HNP-1 in an aqueous environment suggests the presence of a beta-hairpin conformation. In the presence of lipid vesicles, the S-S constrained peptides tend to adopt a beta-structure. Although the S-S connectivities observed in HNP-1 may be necessary for other physiological activities, such as chemotaxis, they are clearly not essential for antibacterial activity.

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