Isothermal titration calorimetry studies of the binding of a rationally designed analogue of the antimicrobial peptide gramicidin S to phospholipid bilayer membranes

Thomas Abraham, Ruthven N A H Lewis, Robert S. Hodges, Ronald N. McElhaney

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The binding of the positively charged antimicrobial peptide cyclo[VKLdKVdYPLKVKLdYP] (GS14dK4) to various lipid bilayer model membranes was investigated using isothermal titration calorimetry. GS14dK4 is a diastereomeric lysine ring-size analogue of the naturally occurring antimicrobial peptide gramicidin S which exhibits enhanced antimicrobial and markedly reduced hemolytic activities compared with GS itself. Large unilamellar vesicles composed of various zwitterionic (1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3- phosphorylcholine [POPC]) and anionic phospholipids {1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn- glycero-3-[phospho-rac-(glycerol)] [POPG] and 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3- [phosphoserine] [POPS]}, with or without cholesterol, were used as model membrane systems. Dynamic light scattering results indicate the absence of any peptide-induced major alteration in vesicle size or vesicle fusion under our experimental conditions. The binding of GS14dK4 is significantly influenced by the surface charge density of the phospholipid bilayer and by the presence of cholesterol. Specifically, a significant reduction in the degree of binding occurs when three-fourths of the anionic lipid molecules are replaced with zwitterionic POPC molecules. No measurable binding occurs to cholesterol-containing zwitterionic vesicles, and a dramatic drop in binding is observed in the cholesterol-containing anionic POPG and POPS membranes, indicating that the presence of cholesterol markedly reduces the affinity of this peptide for phospholipid bilayers. The binding isotherms can be described quantitatively by a one-site binding model. The measured endothermic binding enthalpy (ΔH) varies dramatically (+6.3 to +26.5 kcal/mol) and appears to be inversely related to the order of the phospholipid bilayer system. However, the negative free energy (ΔG) of binding remains relatively constant (-8.5 to -11.5 kcal/mol) for all lipid membranes examined. The relatively small variation of negative free energy of peptide binding together with a pronounced variation of positive enthalpy produces an equally strong variation of TΔS (+16.2 to +35.0 kcal/mol), indicating that GS14dK4 binding to phospholipids bilayers is primarily entropy driven.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2103-2112
Number of pages10
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Feb 15 2005


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry

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