The initial steps of membrane disruption by antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) involve binding to bacterial membranes in a surface-bound (S) orientation. To evaluate the effects of lipid composition on the S state, molecular dynamics simulations of the AMPs piscidin 1 (p1) and piscidin 3 (p3) were carried out in four different bilayers: 3:1 DMPC/DMPG, 3:1 POPC/POPG, 1:1 POPE/POPG, and 4:1 POPC/cholesterol. In all cases, the addition of 1:40 piscidin caused thinning of the bilayer, though thinning was least for DMPC/DMPG. The peptides also insert most deeply into DMPC/DMPG, spanning the region from the bilayer midplane to the headgroups, and thereby only mildly disrupting the acyl chains. In contrast, the peptides insert less deeply in the palmitoyl-oleoyl containing membranes, do not reach the midplane, and substantially disrupt the chains, i.e., the neighboring acyl chains bend under the peptide, forming a basket-like conformation. Curvature free energy derivatives calculated from the simulation pressure profiles reveal that the peptides generate positive curvature in membranes with palmitoyl and oleoyl chains but negative curvature in those with myristoyl chains. Curvature inductions predicted with a continuum elastic model follow the same trends, though the effect is weaker, and a small negative curvature induction is obtained in POPC/POPG. These results do not directly speak to the relative stability of the inserted (I) states or ease of pore formation, which requires the free energy pathway between the S and I states. Nevertheless, they do highlight the importance of lipid composition and acyl chain packing.
The Journal of Membrane Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 8, 2014
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