Freire RVM, Pillco-Valencia Y, da Hora GCA, Ramstedt M, Sandblad L, Soares TA, Salentinig S
Journal of Colloid and Interface Science 596 (-) 352-363 [2021-08-15; online 2021-03-16]
With the growing challenges of bacteria becoming resistant to conventional antibiotics, antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) may offer a potential alternative. One of the most studied AMPs, the human cathelicidin derived AMP LL-37 is notable for its antimicrobial activity even though its mechanism of action is not fully understood yet. This work investigates the interaction of LL-37 with 1-Palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phospho-rac-(1-glycerol) (POPG) vesicles, which were employed as a bacterial membrane model given the common presence of this phospholipid in the bacterial membrane. Experimental techniques including small angle X-ray scattering, transmission electron microscopy and dynamic light scattering were used to characterize the interactions among LL-37 and POPG. Molecular dynamics simulations complement the experimental studies with molecular-level insights into the process. LL-37 was discovered to actively and critically interact with the POPG vesicles, modifying the membrane curvature that eventually leads to structural transformations from vesicles to mixed micelles. The results shed light on the mechanisms underlying the interactions among LL-37 and bacteria mimetic vesicles and can guide the further development of AMP based antimicrobial materials and therapies.