Understanding interactions of Citropin 1.1 analogues with model membranes and their influence on biological activity

Nathalia Rodrigues de Almeida, Jonathan Catazaro, Maddeboina Krishnaiah, Yashpal Singh Chhonker, Daryl J. Murry, Robert Powers, Martin Conda-Sheridan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The rapid emergence of resistant bacterial strains has made the search for new antibacterial agents an endeavor of paramount importance. Cationic antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) have the ability to kill resistant pathogens while diminishing the development of resistance. Citropin 1.1 (Cit 1.1) is an AMP effective against a broad range of pathogens. 20 analogues of Cit 1.1 were prepared to understand how sequence variations lead to changes in structure and biological activity. Various analogues exhibited an increased antimicrobial activity relative to Cit 1.1. The two most promising, AMP-016 (W3F) and AMP-017 (W3F, D4R, K7R) presented a 2- to 8-fold increase in activity against MRSA (both = 4 μg/mL). AMP-017 was active against E. coli (4 μg/mL), K. pneumoniae (8 μg/mL), and A. baumannii (2 μg/mL). NMR studies indicated that Cit 1.1 and its analogues form a head-to-tail helical dimer in a membrane environment, which differs from a prior study by Sikorska et al. Active peptides displayed a greater tendency to form α-helices and to dimerize when in contact with a negatively-charged membrane. Antimicrobial activity was observed to correlate to the overall stability of the α-helix and to a positively charged N-terminus. Biologically active AMPs were shown by SEM and flow cytometry to disrupt membranes in both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria through a proposed carpet mechanism. Notably, active peptides exhibited typical serum stabilities and a good selectivity for bacterial cells over mammalian cells, which supports the potential use of Cit 1.1 analogues as a novel broad-spectrum antibiotic for drug-resistant bacterial infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number170119
StatePublished - Sep 2019


  • Antimicrobial peptides
  • Helical peptides
  • Membrane disruption
  • NMR structural biology
  • Peptide structures
  • Serum stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Endocrinology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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