Antimicrobial effects of H4-(86–100), histogranin and related compounds – possible involvement of DNA gyrase

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Histone-derived antimicrobial peptides have been identified in various organisms from plants to humans. The rat histone H4 mRNA variants, H4-v.1 and rat histogranin (HNr) mRNAs, were recently reported to be involved in the synthesis of H4-(86–100) and its related peptide HNr, respectively. Herein, the two peptides were investigated for putative antimicrobial activity and found to inhibit growth of Gram-negative (Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa) and Gram-positive (Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus) bacteria. Their inhibitory potencies in E. coli (LD50: 3.48 and 4.34 μg·mL−1) are comparable to that of the antimicrobial peptide LL-37 (LD50: 4.10 μg·mL−1). The antimicrobial activities of H4-(86–100) and HNr depend upon the integrity of the molecules, as precursors [H4-(84–102), pro-HNr] and fragments [bovine histogranin (HNb)-(1–13), HNb-(3–13), H4-(89–102) or OGP] are at least five times less potent than the parent peptides. Among various HN-like compounds, cyclo-(-Gly-pCl-Phe-Tyr-D-Arg) (compound 3) and N-5-guanidino pentanamide-(2R)-yl-2-N-(p-hydroxyphenylacetyl)-4-(p-chlorobenzoyl)-phenylene diamine (compound 8) display antimicrobial activities comparable to that of HNr. Interestingly, the antimicrobial activities of H4-(86–100), HNr and compound 3, like those of quinolone antibiotics acting as DNA gyrase poisons, are potentiated by ATP (1 mM) and coumermycin A1 (a DNA gyrase-linked ATPase inhibitor) and blocked by 2,4-dinitrophenol (DNP, an uncoupler of oxidative phosphorylation) and fluoroacetic acid (a metabolic poison). Finally, in vitro experiments indicate that H4-(86–100), HNr, compound 3 and compound 8, but not HNb-(1–13) or HNb-(3–13), inhibit DNA gyrase-mediated supercoiling of pBR322 DNA. These data indicate that the naturally occurring H4-(86–100) and HNr display antimicrobial effects that involve a modulation of ATP-dependent DNA gyrase.

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