Antimicrobial peptides are currently considered as promising antiviral compounds. Current assays to evaluate the effectivity of peptides against enveloped viruses based on liposomes or hemolysis are encumbered by the artificial nature of liposomes or distinctive membrane composition of used erythrocytes. We propose a novel assay system based on enzymatic Ebola virus-like particles containing sensitive luciferase reporter. The assay was validated with several cationic and anionic peptides and compared with lentivirus inactivation and hemolytic assays. The assay is sensitive and easy to perform in standard biosafety level laboratory with potential for high-throughput screens. The use of virus-like particles in the assay provides a system as closely related to the native viruses as possible eliminating some issues associated with other more artificial set ups.
We have identified CAM-W (KWKLWKKIEKWGQGIGAVLKWLTTWL) as a peptide with the greatest antiviral activity against infectious lentiviral vectors and filoviral virus-like particles.