Antibacterial properties of Latarcin 1 derived cell-penetrating peptides

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Cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) and antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) share certain physicochemical parameters such as amphipathicity, hydrophobicity, cationicity and pI, due to which these two groups of peptides also exhibit overlapping functional characteristics. In our current work, we have evaluated antimicrobial properties of cell-penetrating peptides derived from Latarcin1. Latarcin derived peptide (LDP) exhibited antimicrobial activity against representative microorganisms tested and bactericidal effect against methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which was used as model organism of study in the present work. However, LDP exhibited cytotoxicity against HeLa cells. Further, nuclear localization sequence (NLS) was fused to LDP and interestingly, LDP-NLS showed antimicrobial effect against bacteria, showed bactericidal effect against MRSA and also did not exhibit cytotoxicity in HeLa cells till the highest concentrations tested. Thus, our results inferred that fusion of NLS to LDP significantly reduced cytotoxicity of LDP against HeLa cells (Ponnappan and Chugh, 2017) and exhibited significantly higher cell-penetrating activity in MRSA in comparison to LDP alone. Consolidated results of uptake assays, time-kill assays and PI membrane damage assays show that LDP killed MRSA mainly by membrane damage, where as LDP-NLS might have intracellular targets. Owing to its cell-penetrating activity in HeLa cells and antimicrobial activity against MRSA, LDP-NLS efficiently inhibited intracellular infection of MRSA in HeLa cells as observed in invasion assays. Hence, our results suggest that LDP-NLS is a dual action peptide with AMP and CPP activity and could be potential candidate as peptide antibiotic and drug delivery vector in both mammalian and bacterial cells.Graphical Abstract

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