Potent Macromolecule-Sized Poration of Lipid Bilayers by the Macrolittins, A Synthetically Evolved Family of Pore-Forming Peptides

Sijia Li, Sarah Y. Kim, Anna E. Pittman, Gavin M. King, William C. Wimley, Kalina Hristova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Pore-forming peptides with novel functions have potential utility in many biotechnological applications. However, the sequence-structure-function relationships of pore forming peptides are not understood well enough to empower rational design. Therefore, in this work, we used synthetic molecular evolution to identify a novel family of peptides that are highly potent and cause macromolecular poration in synthetic lipid vesicles at low peptide concentration and at neutral pH. These unique 26-residue peptides, which we call macrolittins, release macromolecules from lipid bilayer vesicles made from zwitterionic PC lipids at peptide to lipid ratios as low as 1:1000, a property that is almost unprecedented among known membrane permeabilizing peptides. The macrolittins exist as membrane-spanning α-helices. They cause dramatic bilayer thinning and form large pores in planar supported bilayers. The high potency of these peptides is likely due to their ability to stabilize bilayer edges by a process that requires specific electrostatic interactions between peptides.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6441-6447
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Volume140
Issue number20
DOIs
StatePublished - May 23 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry

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