Articles written in Journal of Biosciences
Volume 23 Issue 1 March 1998 pp 9-13
Indolicidin is a 13-residue broad-spectrum antibacterial peptide isolated from bovine neutrophils. The primary structure of the peptide ILPWKWPWWPWRR-amide (IL) reveals an unusually high percentage of tryptophan residues. IL and its analogues where proline residues have been replaced by alanine (ILA) and trp replaced by phe (ILF) show comparable antibacterial activitieso While IL and ILA are haemolytic, ILF does not have this property. Since aromatic residues would strongly favour partitioning of the peptide into the lipid bilayer interface, the biological activities of IL and its analogues could conceivably arise due perturbation of the lipid bilayer of membranes. We have therefore investigated the interaction of IL and its analogues with lipid vesicles. Peptides IL and ILA bind to lipid vesicles composed of phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylethanol amine: phosphatidyl glycerol: cardiolipin. The position of λmax and I- quenching experiments suggest that the trp residues are localized at the membrane interface and not associated with the hydrophobic core of the lipid bilayer in both the peptides. Hence, membrane permeabilization is likely to occur due to deformation of the membrane surface rather than formation of transmembrane channels by indolicidin and its analogues. Peptides ILA, IL and ILF cause the release of entrapped carboxyfluorescein from phosphatidyl choline vesicles. The peptide-lipid ratios indicate that ILF is less effective than IL and ILA in permeabilizing lipid vesicles, correlating with their haemolytic activities.