The identification of a novel Sulfolobus islandicus CAMP‑like peptide points to archaeal microorganisms as cell factories for the production of antimicrobial molecules
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2015

Background: Pathogenic bacteria easily develop resistance to conventional antibiotics so that even relatively new molecules are quickly losing efficacy. This strongly encourages the quest of new antimicrobials especially for the treatment of chronic infections. Cationic antimicrobial peptides (CAMPs) are small positively charged peptides with an amphipathic structure, active against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, fungi, as well as protozoa. Results: A novel (CAMP)-like peptide (VLL-28) was identified in the primary structure of a transcription factor, Stf76, encoded by pSSVx, a hybrid plasmid–virus from the archaeon Sulfolobus islandicus. VLL-28 displays chemical, physical and functional properties typical of CAMPs. Indeed, it has a broad-spectrum antibacterial activity and acquires a defined structure in the presence of membrane mimetics. Furthermore, it exhibits selective leakage and fusogenic capability on vesicles with a lipid composition similar to that of bacterial membranes. VLL-28 localizes not only on the cell membrane but also in the cytoplasm of Escherichia coli and retains the ability to bind nucleic acids. These findings suggest that this CAMP-like peptide could exert its antimicrobial activity both on membrane and intra cellular targets. Conclusions: VLL-28 is the first CAMP-like peptide identified in the archaeal kingdom, thus pointing to archaeal microorganisms as cell factories to produce antimicrobial molecules of biotechnological interest. Furthermore, results from this work show that DNA/RNA-binding proteins could be used as sources of CAMPs.


Salvatore Fusco

Chalmers, Biologi och bioteknik

Microbial Cell Factories

1475-2859 (ISSN)

Vol. 14 126


Biokemi och molekylärbiologi

Biologiska vetenskaper

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