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Molecules 2015, 20(4), 6941-6958; doi:10.3390/molecules20046941

NKCS, a Mutant of the NK-2 Peptide, Causes Severe Distortions and Perforations in Bacterial, But Not Human Model Lipid Membranes

Institute for Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-University Bonn, Wegeler Str. 12, 53115 Bonn, Germany
Department of Interdisciplinary Research, Alexandru I. Cuza University, Blvd. Carol I, no. 11, Iaşi RO-700506, Romania
Department of Structural Research on Macromolecules, Institute of Materials Research, Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Max-Planck-Str. 1, 21502 Geesthacht, Germany
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Marc Devocelle
Received: 30 January 2015 / Revised: 9 April 2015 / Accepted: 10 April 2015 / Published: 16 April 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cell Penetrating Peptides (CPPs))
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NKCS is an improved mutant of the bioactive peptide NK-2, which shows strong activity against Escherichia coli and low toxicity towards human cells. The different activity demonstrates the relevance of the physico-chemical nature of the target membrane for the biological effect of this peptide. We studied the effect of this potent antimicrobial peptide on model membranes by activity studies, differential scanning calorimetry, single molecule tracking and tracer efflux experiments. We found that NKCS severely distorted, penetrated and perforated model lipid membranes that resembled bacterial membranes, but not those that were similar to human cell membranes. The interactions of NKCS with phosphatidylethanolamine, which is abundant in bacterial membranes, were especially strong and are probably responsible for its antimicrobial activity. View Full-Text
Keywords: antimicrobial peptides; membrane distortion; membrane perforation; phosphatidylethanolamine antimicrobial peptides; membrane distortion; membrane perforation; phosphatidylethanolamine

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Ciobanasu, C.; Rzeszutek, A.; Kubitscheck, U.; Willumeit, R. NKCS, a Mutant of the NK-2 Peptide, Causes Severe Distortions and Perforations in Bacterial, But Not Human Model Lipid Membranes. Molecules 2015, 20, 6941-6958.

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