A Potent Host Defense Peptide Triggers DNA Damage and Is Active against Multidrug-Resistant Gram-Negative Pathogens.


assays demonstrated that Zn(II) ions are required for the nuclease activity of the peptide. The quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) calculations were used to investigate the mechanism of DNA damage. In the rate-determining step of the proposed mechanism, due to its Lewis acidity, the Zn(II) ion activates the scissile P-O bond of DNA and creates a hydroxyl nucleophile from a water molecule. A subsequent attack by this group to the electrophilic phosphorus cleaves the scissile phosphoester bond. Additionally, we utilized bacterial cytological profiling (BCP), circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy in the presence of lipid vesicles, and surface plasmon resonance combined with electrical impedance spectroscopy in order to address the apparent discrepancies between our results and the previous studies regarding the mechanism of action of Clavanin A. Finally, our approach may lead to the identification of additional Clavanin A like HDPs and promote the development of antimicrobial peptide based therapeutics.

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