Membrane binding of an acyl-lactoferricin B antimicrobial peptide from solid-state NMR experiments and molecular dynamics simulations

by Romo, T. D.; Bradney, L. A.; Greathouse, D. V.; Grossfield, A.

One approach to the growing health problem of antibiotic resistant bacteria is the development of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) as alternative treatments. The mechanism by which these AMPs selectively attack the bacterial membrane is not well understood, but is believed to depend on differences in membrane lipid composition. N-acylation of the small amidated hexapeptide, RRWQWR-NH2 (LfB6), derived from the 25 amino acid bovine lactoferricin (LfB25) can be an effective means to improve its antimicrobial properties. Here, we investigate the interactions of C6-LfB6, N-acylated with a 6 carbon fatty acid, with model lipid bilayers with two distinct compositions: 3:1 POPE:POPG (negatively charged) and POPC (zwitterionic). Results from solid-state H-2 and P-31 NMR experiments are compared with those from an ensemble of all-atom molecular dynamic simulations running in aggregate more than 8.6 ms. H-2 NMR spectra reveal no change in the lipid acyl chain order when C6-LfB6 is bound to the negatively charged membrane and only a slight decrease in order when it is bound to the zwitterionic membrane. P-31 NMR spectra show no significant perturbation of the phosphate head groups of either lipid system in the presence of C6-LfB6. Molecular dynamic simulations show that for the negatively charged membrane, the peptide's arginines drive the initial association with the membrane, followed by attachment of the tryptophans at the membrane-water interface, and finally by the insertion of the C6 tails deep into the bilayer. In contrast, the C6 tail leads the association with the zwitterionic membrane, with the tryptophans and arginines associating with the membrane-water interface in roughly the same amount of time. We find similar patterns in the order parameters from our simulations. Moreover, we find in the simulations that the C6 tail can insert 1-2 angstrom more deeply into the zwitterionic membrane and can exist in a wider range of angles than in the negatively charged membrane. We propose this is due to the larger area per lipid in the zwitterionic membrane, which provides more space for the C6 to insert and assume different orientations.

Biochimica et Biophysica Acta-Biomembranes
Start Page