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Improvement of Bacterial Cell Selectivity of Melittin by a Single Trp Mutation with a Peptoid Residue

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To design melittin (ME) analogues that are not cytotoxic against mammalian cells but which possessing potent antimicrobial activity, we synthesized a ME analogue (ME-w) in which the Trp-19 residue of ME was replaced by a Trppeptoid residue (Nhtrp). ME-w exhibited similar antimicrobial activity compared to ME against the tested six bacteria and C. albicans. However, it was much less cytotoxic against the hRBCs and HeLa and NIH-3T3 cells than ME. Tryptophan fluorescence and CD spectra revealed that the Trp-19 ® Nhtrp substitution in ME contributed to a much lower helical assembly in an aqueous environment and structural flexibility and exterior localization to zwitterionic membrane which modulates its selectivity toward bacterial cells.

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Keywords: Melittin; Trp-peptoid residue (Nhtrp); cell selectivity; helical assembly; structural flexibility

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Cellular & Molecular Medicine, School of Medicine, Department of Bio-Materials, Graduate School and Research Center for Proteineous Materials, Chosun University, Gwangju 501-759, Korea.

Publication date: July 1, 2006

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  • Protein & Peptide Letters publishes short papers in all important aspects of protein and peptide research, including structural studies, recombinant expression, function, synthesis, enzymology, immunology, molecular modeling, drug design etc. Manuscripts must have a significant element of novelty, timeliness and urgency that merit rapid publication. Reports of crystallisation, and preliminary structure determinations of biologically important proteins are acceptable. Purely theoretical papers are also acceptable provided they provide new insight into the principles of protein/peptide structure and function.
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