Structure andin vitroactivities of a Copper II-chelating anionic peptide from the venom of the scorpionTityus stigmurus
Anionic Peptides are molecules rich in aspartic acid (Asp) and/or glutamic acid (Glu) residues in the primary structure. This work presents, for the first time, structural characterization and biological activity assays of an anionic peptide from the venom of the scorpion Tityus stigmurus, named TanP. The three-dimensional structure of TanP was obtained by computational modeling and refined by molecular dynamic (MD) simulations. Furthermore, we have performed circular dichroism (CD) analysis to predict TanP secondary structure, and UV–vis spectroscopy to evaluate its chelating activity. CD indicated predominance of random coil conformation in aqueous medium, as well as changes in structure depending on pH and temperature. TanP has chelating activity on copper ions, which modified the peptide's secondary structure. These results were corroborated by MD data. The molar ratio of binding (TanP:copper) depends on the concentration of peptide: at lower TanP concentration, the molar ratio was 1:5 (TanP:Cu2+), whereas in concentrated TanP solution, the molar ratio was 1:3 (TanP:Cu2+). TanP was not cytotoxic to non-neoplastic or cancer cell lines, and showed an ability to inhibit the in vitro release of nitric oxide by LPS-stimulated macrophages. Altogether, the results suggest TanP is a promising peptide for therapeutic application as a chelating agent.