The host-defense peptide, esculentin-2CHa (GFSSIFRGVA10KFASKGLGK D20LAKLGVDLVA30 CKISKQC) shows potent (MIC ≤ 6 μM) growth inhibitory activity against clinical isolates of multidrug-resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus, Acinetobacter baumannii, and Stenotrophomonas maltophilia and differential cytotoxic activity against human erythrocytes (LC50 = 150 μM) and human non-small cell lung adenocarcinoma A549 cells (LC50 = 10 μM). Esculentin-2CHa significantly (P < 0.01) stimulates the release of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 by mouse lymphoid cells and elevates its production after stimulation with concanavalin A and significantly (P < 0.05) stimulates TNF-α production by peritoneal macrophages. Effects on IL-6 and IL-1β production were not significant. Removal of the hydrophobic N-terminal hexapeptide (GFSSIF) from esculentin-2CHa results in abolition of growth inhibitory activity against S. aureus and cytotoxic activity against erythrocytes and A549 cells as well as a marked (≥16-fold) reduction in potency against A. baumannii and S. maltophilia. The primary structure of esculentin-2 has been poorly conserved between frog species but evolutionary pressure has acted to maintain the hydrophobic character of this N-terminal hexapeptide sequence. Removal of the cyclic C-terminal domain (CKISKQC) and replacement of the Cys31 and Cys37 residues by serine resulted in appreciable decreases in cytotoxicity against all microorganisms and against mammalian cells. The more cationic [D20K, D27K] analog showed a modest increase in potency against all microorganisms (up to 4-fold) but a marked increase in cytotoxicity against erythrocytes (LC 50 = 11 μM) and A549 cells (LC50 = 3 μM).
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by a Faculty Support Grant and a University Research Grant ( G00000900 ) from U.A.E. University and by a grant from the Terry Fox Fund for Cancer Research . The authors thank Manju Prajeep, Kholoud Arafat, and Hama Arafat for technical assistance. The authors thank Prof. P.R. Flatt, University of Ulster, U.K. for a gift of peptides.
- Frog skin peptide