New article: Magainin 2 and PGLa in Bacterial Membrane Mimics I: Peptide-Peptide and Lipid-Peptide Interactions

We addressed the onset of synergistic activity of the two well-studied antimicrobial peptides magainin 2 (MG2a) and PGLa using lipid-only mimics of Gram-negative cytoplasmic membranes. Specifically, we coupled a joint analysis of small-angle X-ray and neutron scattering experiments on fully hydrated lipid vesicles in the presence of MG2a and L18W-PGLa to all-atom and coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations. In agreement with previous studies both peptides, as well as their equimolar mixture, were found to remain in a surface-aligned topology upon membrane insertion and to induce significant membrane perturbation as evidenced by membrane thinning and hydrocarbon order parameter changes in the vicinity of the inserted peptide. These effects were particularly pronounced for the so called synergistic mixture of 1:1 (mol/mol) L18W-PGLa/MG2a and cannot be accounted for by a linear combination of the membrane perturbations of two peptides individually. Our data are consistent with parallel heterodimers forming at much lower concentrations than previously considered, but which do not induce a synergistic leakage of dyes. Our simulations further show that the heterodimers interact via salt bridges and hydrophobic forces, which apparently makes them more stable than putatively formed antiparallel L18W-PGLa and MG2a homodimers. Moreover, dimerization of L18W-PGLa and MG2a leads to a relocation of the peptides within the lipid headgroup regime as compared to the individual peptides. The early onset of dimerization of L18W-PGLa and MG2a at low peptide concentrations consequently appears to be key to their synergistic dye-releasing activity from lipid vesicles at high concentrations

You can find the article in Biophysical Journal.