Temporin B Forms Hetero-Oligomers with Temporin L, Modifies Its Membrane Activity, and Increases the Cooperativity of Its Antibacterial Pharmacodynamic Profile

Philip M. Ferguson, Maria Clarke, Giorgia Manzo, Charlotte K. Hind, Melanie Clifford, J. Mark Sutton, Christian D. Lorenz, David A. Phoenix, A. James Mason*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The pharmacodynamic profile of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) and their in vivo synergy are two factors that are thought to restrict resistance evolution and ensure their conservation. The frog Rana temporaria secretes a family of closely related AMPs, temporins A-L, as an effective chemical dermal defense. The antibacterial potency of temporin L has been shown to increase synergistically in combination with both temporins B and A, but this is modest. Here we show that the less potent temporin B enhances the cooperativity of the in vitro antibacterial activity of the more potent temporin L against EMRSA-15 and that this may be associated with an altered interaction with the bacterial plasma membrane, a feature critical for the antibacterial activity of most AMPs. Addition of buforin II, a histone H2A fragment, can further increase the cooperativity. Molecular dynamics simulations indicate temporins B and L readily form hetero-oligomers in models of Gram-positive bacterial plasma membranes. Patch-clamp studies show transmembrane ion conductance is triggered with lower amounts of both peptides and more quickly when used in combination, but conductance is of a lower amplitude and pores are smaller. Temporin B may therefore act by forming temporin L/B hetero-oligomers that are more effective than temporin L homo-oligomers at bacterial killing and/or by reducing the probability of the latter forming until a threshold concentration is reached. Exploration of the mechanism of synergy between AMPs isolated from the same organism may therefore yield antibiotic combinations with advantageous pharmacodynamic properties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1029-1040
Number of pages12
JournalBiochemistry
Volume61
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
P.M.F. was supported by a Health Schools Studentship funded by the EPSRC (Grant EP/M50788X/1).

Funding Information:
C.D.L. acknowledges the stimulating research environment provided by the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Cross-Disciplinary Approaches to Non-Equilibrium Systems (CANES, Grant EP/L015854/1). This work used the ARCHER UK National Supercomputing Service ( http://www.archer.ac.uk ). Part of the TOC graphic was created with BioRender.com .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Published by American Chemical Society.

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