Bauhinia bauhinoides cruzipain inhibitor (BbCI) and Bauhinia bauhinioides kallikrein inhibitor (BbKI) are cysteine and serine proteinase inhibitors structurally homologous to plant Kunitz-type inhibitors, but are devoid of disulfide bridges. Based on cDNA sequences, we found that BbKI and BbCI are initially synthesized as a prepropeptide comprising an N-terminal signal peptide (19 residues), the mature protein (164 residues) and a C-terminal targeting peptide (10 residues). Partial cDNAs encoding the mature enzymes plus N-terminal His-tags and thrombin cleavage sites were expressed in E. coli and the soluble proteins were purified by one-step nickel affinity chromatography. After thrombin cleavage, both proteins exhibited potent inhibitory activities toward their cognate proteinases like the wild-type proteins. BbCI inhibits human neutrophil elastase ( K i(app) 5.3 nM), porcine pancreatic elastase ( K i(app) 40 nM), cathepsin G ( K i(app) 160 nM) and the cysteine proteinases cruzipain ( K i(app) 1.2 nM), cruzain ( K i(app) 0.3 nM) and cathepsin L ( K i(app) 2.2 nM), while BbKI strongly inhibits plasma kallikrein ( K i(app) 2.4 nM) and plasmin ( K i(app) 33 nM). Circular dichroism spectra of BbCI and BbKI were in agreement with the beta-trefoil fold described for Kunitz inhibitors. The inhibitory potency of both BbCI- and BbKI-type inhibitors suggests that other, non-covalent interactions may compensate for the lack of disulfide bridges.
The action of a synthetic antimicrobial peptide analog of Plantaricin 149 (Pln149a) against Saccharomyces cerevisiae and its interaction with biomembrane model systems were investigated. Pln149a was shown to inhibit S. cerevisiae growth by more than 80% in YPD medium, causing morphological changes in the yeast wall and remaining active and resistant to the yeast proteases even after 24 h of incubation. Different membrane model systems and carbohydrates were employed to better describe the Pln149a interaction with cellular components using circular dichroism and fluorescence spectroscopies, adsorption kinetics and surface elasticity in Langmuir monolayers. These assays showed that Pln149a does not interact with either mono/polysaccharides or zwitterionic LUVs, but is strongly adsorbed to and incorporated into negatively charged surfaces, causing a conformational change in its secondary structure from random-coil to helix upon adsorption. From the concurrent analysis of Pln149a adsorption kinetics and dilatational surface elasticity data, we determined that 2.5 muM is the critical concentration at which Pln149a will disrupt a negative DPPG monolayer. Furthermore, Pln149a exhibited a carpet-like mechanism of action, in which the peptide initially binds to the membrane, covering its surface and acquiring a helical structure that remains associated to the negatively charged phospholipids. After this electrostatic interaction, another peptide region causes a strain in the membrane, promoting its disruption.
Lipid transfer proteins (LTPs) were thus named because they facilitate the transfer of lipids between membranes in vitro. This study was triggered by the characterization of a 9-kDa LTP from Capsicum annuum seeds that we call Ca-LTP(1) . Ca-LTP(1) was repurified, and in the last chromatographic purification step, propanol was used as the solvent in place of acetonitrile to maintain the protein's biological activity. Bidimensional electrophoresis of the 9-kDa band, which corresponds to the purified Ca-LTP(1) , showed the presence of three isoforms with isoelectric points (pIs) of 6.0, 8.5 and 9.5. Circular dichroism (CD) analysis suggested a predominance of α-helices, as expected for the structure of an LTP family member. LTPs immunorelated to Ca-LTP(1) from C. annuum were also detected by western blotting in exudates released from C. annuum seeds and also in other Capsicum species. The tissue and subcellular localization of Ca-LTP(1) indicated that it was mainly localized within dense vesicles. In addition, isolated Ca-LTP(1) exhibited antifungal activity against Colletotrichum lindemunthianum, and especially against Candida tropicalis, causing several morphological changes to the cells including the formation of pseudohyphae. Ca-LTP(1) also caused the yeast plasma membrane to be permeable to the dye SYTOX green, as verified by fluorescence microscopy. We also found that Ca-LTP(1) is able to inhibit mammalian α-amylase activity in vitro.
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