How melittin inserts into cell membrane: Conformational changes, inter-peptide cooperation, and disturbance on the membrane

Hong, J.; Lu, X. ✉; Deng, Z.; Xiao, S. ✉; Yuan, B. ✉; Yang, K. ✉

Angol nyelvű Tudományos Szakcikk (Folyóiratcikk)
Megjelent: MOLECULES 1420-3049 24 (9) Paper: 1775 2019
  • SJR Scopus - Chemistry (miscellaneous): Q1
Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), as a key component of the immune defense systems of organisms, are a promising solution to the serious threat of drug-resistant bacteria to public health. As one of the most representative and extensively studied AMPs, melittin has exceptional broad-spectrum activities against microorganisms, including both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Unfortunately, the action mechanism of melittin with bacterial membranes, especially the underlying physics of peptide-induced membrane poration behaviors, is still poorly understood, which hampers efforts to develop melittin-based drugs or agents for clinical applications. In this mini-review, we focus on recent advances with respect to the membrane insertion behavior of melittin mostly from a computational aspect. Membrane insertion is a prerequisite and key step for forming transmembrane pores and bacterial killing by melittin, whose occurrence is based on overcoming a high free-energy barrier during the transition of melittin molecules from a membrane surface-binding state to a transmembrane-inserting state. Here, intriguing simulation results on such transition are highlighted from both kinetic and thermodynamic aspects. The conformational changes and inter-peptide cooperation of melittin molecules, as well as melittin-induced disturbances to membrane structure, such as deformation and lipid extraction, are regarded as key factors influencing the insertion of peptides into membranes. The associated intermediate states in peptide conformations, lipid arrangements, membrane structure, and mechanical properties during this process are specifically discussed. Finally, potential strategies for enhancing the poration ability and improving the antimicrobial performance of AMPs are included as well. © 2019 by the Authors.
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2020-07-12 22:42