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Keywords:

  • peptide design;
  • antimicrobial peptides;
  • bovine lactoferrampin;
  • synthetic peptides;
  • EHEC O157:H7

ABSTRACT

Lactoferrampin 265–284 (LFampin 265–284) is a peptide consisting of residues 265–284 of N1-domain of bovine Lactoferrin (LF). This peptide has several cationic groups in the C-terminal lobe, exhibiting an antibacterial activity against a wide range of microorganisms. However, LFampin 265–284 exhibits low antimicrobial activity against the O157:H7 enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC O157:H7) when compared with Lactoferrin chimera and Lactoferricin. Here, we have designed three analogues of LFampin 265–284 based on the distribution of cationic groups, hydrophobicity, size, and sequence. Analogues were synthesized by solid phase chemistry using Fmoc methodology obtaining peptides with 95% purity. All peptides maintain the ability to adopt helical conformations (checked by circular dichroism spectra and molecular simulations). Some of these analogues exhibited a significant increase in antimicrobial activity by counting colony forming units against EHEC O157:H7 compared to native LFampin 265–284, with MIC of 10 and 40 µM for 264G-D265K and 264G-D265K/S272R, respectively. The incorporation of a GKLI sequence in the N-terminal lobe increased dramatically its antibacterial activity, an effect which has been attributed to the addition of cationic groups in the N-terminal side that may stabilize the helical conformation of the new designed peptides. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Biopolymers 101: 319–328, 2014.