Membrane activity of two short Trp-rich amphipathic peptides

José C. Bozelli, Jenny Yune, Xiangli Dang, Jayaram Lakshmaiah Narayana, Guangshun Wang, Richard M. Epand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Short linear antimicrobial peptides are attractive templates for developing new antibiotics. Here, it is described a study of the interaction between two short Trp-rich peptides, horine and verine-L, and model membranes. Isothermal titration calorimetry studies showed that the affinity of these peptides towards large unilamellar vesicles (LUV) having a lipid composition mimicking the lipid composition of S. aureus membranes is ca. 30-fold higher than that towards E. coli mimetics. The former interaction is driven by enthalpy and entropy, while the latter case is driven by entropy, suggesting differences in the forces that play a role in the binding to the two types of model membranes. Upon membrane binding the peptides acquired different conformations according to circular dichroism (CD) studies; however, in both cases CD studies indicated stacked W-residues. Peptide-induced membrane permeabilization, lipid flip-flop, molecular packing at the membrane-water interface, and lateral lipid segregation were observed in all cases. However, the extent of these peptide-induced changes on membrane properties was always higher in S. aureus than E. coli mimetics. Both peptides seem to act via a similar mechanism of membrane permeabilization of S. aureus membrane mimetics, while their mechanisms seem to differ in the case of E. coli. This may be the result of differences in both the peptides´ structure and the membrane lipid composition between both types of bacteria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number183280
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020


  • Antimicrobial peptides
  • Conformational properties
  • Membrane binding thermodynamics
  • Membrane structure and dynamics
  • Peptide-membrane interaction
  • Short Trp-rich peptides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

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