Melbourne Dental School - Research Publications

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    Maculatin 1.1 Disrupts Staphylococcus aureus Lipid Membranes via a Pore Mechanism
    Sani, M-A ; Whitwell, TC ; Gehman, JD ; Robins-Browne, RM ; Pantarat, N ; Attard, TJ ; Reynolds, EC ; O'Brien-Simpson, NM ; Separovic, F (AMER SOC MICROBIOLOGY, 2013-08-01)
    Maculatin 1.1 (Mac1) showed potent activity against Staphylococcus aureus with an MIC of 7 μM. The mode of action of Mac1 was investigated by combining assays with S. aureus cells and lipid vesicles mimicking their membrane composition. A change in Mac1 conformation was monitored by circular dichroism from random coil to ca. 70% α-helix structure in contact with vesicles. Electron micrographs of S. aureus incubated with Mac1 showed rough and rippled cell surfaces. An uptake of 65% of small (FD, 4 kDa [FD-4]) and 35% of large (RD, 40 kDa [RD-40]) fluorescent dextrans by S. aureus was observed by flow cytometry and indicate that Mac1 formed a pore of finite size. In model membranes with both dyes encapsulated together, the full release of FD-4 occurred, but only 40% of RD-40 was reached, supporting the flow cytometry results, and indicating a pore size between 1.4 and 4.5 nm. Finally, solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance showed formation of an isotropic phase signifying highly mobile lipids such as encountered in a toroidal pore structure. Overall, Mac1 is a promising antimicrobial peptide with the potent capacity to form pores in S. aureus membranes.