The Configuration of the WWW Motif of a Short Trp-Rich Peptide Is Critical for Targeting Bacterial Membranes, Disrupting Preformed Biofilms, and Killing Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus

D. Zarena, Biswajit Mishra, Tamara Lushnikova, Fangyu Wang, Guangshun Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Tryptophan-rich peptides, being short and suitable for large-scale chemical synthesis, are attractive candidates for developing a new generation of antimicrobials to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria (superbugs). Although there are numerous pictures of the membrane-bound structure of a single tryptophan (W), how multiple Trp amino acids assemble themselves and interact with bacterial membranes is poorly understood. This communication presents the three-dimensional structure of an eight-residue Trp-rich peptide (WWWLRKIW-NH2 with 50% W) determined by the improved two-dimensional nuclear magnetic resonance method, which includes the measurements of 13C and 15N chemical shifts at natural abundance. This peptide forms the shortest two-turn helix with a distinct amphipathic feature. A unique structural arrangement is identified for the Trp triplet, WWW, that forms a π configuration with W2 as the horizontal bar and W1/W3 forming the two legs. An arginine scan reveals that the WWW motif is essential for killing methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus USA300 and disrupting preformed bacterial biofilms. This unique π configuration for the WWW motif is stabilized by aromatic-aromatic interactions as evidenced by ring current shifts as well as nuclear Overhauser effects. Because the WWW motif is maintained, a change of I7 to R led to a potent antimicrobial and antibiofilm peptide with 4-fold improvement in cell selectivity. Collectively, this study elucidated the structural basis of antibiofilm activity of the peptide, identified a better peptide candidate via structure-activity relationship studies, and laid the foundation for engineering future antibiotics based on the WWW motif.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4039-4043
Number of pages5
JournalBiochemistry
Volume56
Issue number31
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 8 2017

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Methicillin
Biofilms
Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus
World Wide Web
Membranes
Peptides
Tryptophan
Anti-Bacterial Agents
Chemical shift
Structure-Activity Relationship
Arginine
Leg
Bacteria
Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
Nuclear magnetic resonance
Amino Acids
Communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry

Cite this

The Configuration of the WWW Motif of a Short Trp-Rich Peptide Is Critical for Targeting Bacterial Membranes, Disrupting Preformed Biofilms, and Killing Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus. / Zarena, D.; Mishra, Biswajit; Lushnikova, Tamara; Wang, Fangyu; Wang, Guangshun.

In: Biochemistry, Vol. 56, No. 31, 08.08.2017, p. 4039-4043.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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abstract = "Tryptophan-rich peptides, being short and suitable for large-scale chemical synthesis, are attractive candidates for developing a new generation of antimicrobials to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria (superbugs). Although there are numerous pictures of the membrane-bound structure of a single tryptophan (W), how multiple Trp amino acids assemble themselves and interact with bacterial membranes is poorly understood. This communication presents the three-dimensional structure of an eight-residue Trp-rich peptide (WWWLRKIW-NH2 with 50{\%} W) determined by the improved two-dimensional nuclear magnetic resonance method, which includes the measurements of 13C and 15N chemical shifts at natural abundance. This peptide forms the shortest two-turn helix with a distinct amphipathic feature. A unique structural arrangement is identified for the Trp triplet, WWW, that forms a {\"I}€ configuration with W2 as the horizontal bar and W1/W3 forming the two legs. An arginine scan reveals that the WWW motif is essential for killing methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus USA300 and disrupting preformed bacterial biofilms. This unique {\"I}€ configuration for the WWW motif is stabilized by aromatic-aromatic interactions as evidenced by ring current shifts as well as nuclear Overhauser effects. Because the WWW motif is maintained, a change of I7 to R led to a potent antimicrobial and antibiofilm peptide with 4-fold improvement in cell selectivity. Collectively, this study elucidated the structural basis of antibiofilm activity of the peptide, identified a better peptide candidate via structure-activity relationship studies, and laid the foundation for engineering future antibiotics based on the WWW motif.",
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