Endotoxins (LPS) are highly potent immune stimulatory molecules and are mainly known for triggering Gram-negative sepsis. However, besides their toxic effects, this stimulatory function may be advantageous, for example when used as an adjuvant during vaccination. Thus, there is always a narrow range between the useful wake-up of the immune system and its overwhelming reaction, which can lead to diseases like sepsis. This raises the question of which conformational properties are responsible for making the LPS aggregates more or less potent. As described previously, the size, type and form of LPS aggregates play a major role in their immune stimulatory activity. In this study we investigate the role of these parameters. On the one hand, we use a peptide (Pep19-2.5; Aspidasept) that causes a change of the LPS aggregate structure into a less toxic state; on the other hand, we use a potent immune stimulating peptide (Hb?-35), leading to higher toxicity. We have found opposing effects on LPS aggregate conformations allowing a better understanding of the processes of immune stimulation.
Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are important components of the innate immune system of animals, plants, fungi and bacteria and are recently under discussion as promising alternatives to conventional antibiotics. We have investigated two cecropin-like synthetic peptides, Gm1, which corresponds to the natural overall uncharged Galleria mellonella native peptide and ?Gm1, a modified overall positively charged Gm1 variant. We have analysed these peptides for their potential to inhibit the endotoxin-induced secretion of tumour necrosis factor-? (TNF-?) from human mononuclear cells. Furthermore, in a conventional microbiological assay, the ability of these peptides to inhibit the growth of the rough mutant bacteria Salmonella enterica Minnesota R60 and the polymyxin B-resistant Proteus mirabilis R45 was investigated and atomic force microscopy (AFM) measurements were performed to characterize the morphology of the bacteria treated by the two peptides. We have also studied their cytotoxic properties in a haemolysis assay to clarify potential toxic effects. Our data revealed for both peptides minor anti-inflammatory (anti-endotoxin) activity, but demonstrated antimicrobial activity with differences depending on the endotoxin composition of the respective bacteria. In accordance with the antimicrobial assay, AFM data revealed a stronger morphology change of the R45 bacteria than for the R60. Furthermore, Gm1 had a stronger effect on the bacteria than ?Gm1, leading to a different morphology regarding indentations and coalescing of bacterial structures. The findings verify the biophysical measurements with the peptides on model systems. Both peptides lack any haemolytic activity up to an amount of 100?g/ml, making them suitable as new anti-infective agents.
Antimicrobial peptides (AMP) provide protection from infection by pathogenic microorganisms and restrict bacterial growth at epithelial surfaces to maintain mucosal homeostasis. In addition, they exert a significant anti-inflammatory activity. Here we analysed the anatomical distribution and biological activity of an orally administered AMP in the context of bacterial infection and host-microbial homeostasis.
Natural occurring antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are important components of the innate immune system of animals and plants. They are considered to be promising alternatives to conventional antibiotics. Here we present a comparative study of two synthetic peptides: Gm1, corresponding to the natural overall uncharged peptide from Galleria mellonella (Gm) and ?Gm1, a modified overall positively charged Gm1 variant. We have studied the interaction of the peptides with lipid membranes composed of different kinds of lipopolysaccharides (LPS) and dimyristoylphosphatidylglycerol (DMPG), in some cases also dimyristoylphosphatidylethanolamine (DMPE) as representative lipid components of Gram-negative bacterial membranes, by applying Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), Förster resonance energy transfer spectroscopy (FRET), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC). Gm1 generates a destabilizing effect on the gel to liquid crystalline phase transition of the acyl chains of the lipids, as deduced from a decrease in the phase transition temperature and enthalpy, suggesting a fluidization, whereas ?Gm1 led to the opposite behavior. Further, FTIR analysis of the functional groups of the lipids participating in the interaction with the peptides indicated a shift in the band position and intensity of the asymmetric PO2(-) stretching vibration originating from the lipid phosphate groups, a consequence of the sterical changes in the head group region. Interestingly, FRET spectroscopy showed a similar intercalation of both peptides into the DMPG and LPS, but much less into the DMPE membrane systems. These results are discussed in the light of a possible use of the peptides as antimicrobial and anti-endotoxin drugs.
Influenza A viruses are a continuous threat to human health as illustrated by the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. Since circulating influenza virus strains become increasingly resistant against currently available drugs, the development of novel antivirals is urgently needed. Here, we have evaluated a recently described new class of broad-spectrum antiviral peptides (synthetic anti-lipopolysaccharide peptides; SALPs) for their potential to inhibit influenza virus replication in vitro and in vivo. We found that particularly SALP PEP 19-2.5 shows high binding affinities for the influenza virus receptor molecule, N-Acetylneuraminic acid, leading to impaired viral attachment and cellular entry. As a result, replication of several influenza virus subtypes (H7N7, H3N2 and 2009 pandemic H1N1) was strongly reduced. Furthermore, mice co-treated with PEP 19-2.5 were protected against an otherwise 100% lethal H7N7 influenza virus infection. These findings show that SALPs exhibit antiviral activity against influenza viruses by blocking virus attachment and entry into host cells. Thus, SALPs present a new class of broad-spectrum antiviral peptides for further development for influenza virus therapy.
There are several human serum proteins for which no clear role is yet known. Among these is the abundant serum protein beta2-glycoprotein-I (?2GPI), which is known to bind to negatively charged phospholipids as well as to bacterial lipopolysaccharides (LPS), and was therefore proposed to play a role in the immune response. To understand the details of these interactions, a biophysical analysis of the binding of ?2GPI to LPS and phosphatidylserine (PS) was performed. The data indicate only a moderate tendency of the protein (1) to influence the LPS-induced cytokine production in vitro, (2) to react exothermally with LPS in a non-saturable way, and (3) to change its local microenvironment upon LPS association. Additionally, we found that the protein binds more strongly to phosphatidylserine (PS) than to LPS. Furthermore, ?2GPI converts the LPS bilayer aggregates into a stronger multilamellar form, and reduces the fluidity of the hydrocarbon moiety of LPS due to a rigidification of the acyl chains. From these data it can be concluded that ?2GPI plays a role as an immune-modulating agent, but there is much less evidence for a role in immune defense against bacterial toxins such as LPS.
We have performed freeze-fracture replica immunogold labelling of endotoxin preparations (lipid A and deep rough mutant LPS Re from Salmonella enterica sv. Minnesota), i.e. adding the endotoxins to human monocytes, labelling with monoclonal Abs recognizing either lipid A or LPS Re (A6 and A20 respectively), and fixing with immunogold secondary Ab. We have found that the endotoxins intercalated into the cell membranes with subsequent internalization by the cells. Surprisingly, membrane uptake took place only in the inner, plasmic leaflet of the plasma membrane, but there was no uptake of the outer leaflet for both compounds. Remarkable labelling could be also found for the two membranes of the nuclear envelope-in the case of lipid A only at the plasmic leaflet, but in the case of LPS Re on both leaflets. Isothermal calorimetric titration of the AB A20 with LPS and phospholipids showed that the Ab may bind not only to LPS but also to negatively charged phosphatidylserine. These results are discussed in the frame of the published concepts of cell activation induced by the endotoxins, i.e. how they are able to cause a conformational change of signalling proteins, such as the TLR4/MD2 complex.
Bacterial infections are known to cause severe health-threatening conditions, including sepsis. All attempts to get this disease under control failed in the past, and especially in times of increasing antibiotic resistance, this leads to one of the most urgent medical challenges of our times. We designed a peptide to bind with high affinity to endotoxins, one of the most potent pathogenicity factors involved in triggering sepsis. The peptide Pep19-2.5 reveals high endotoxin neutralization efficiency in vitro, and here, we demonstrate its antiseptic/anti-inflammatory effects in vivo in the mouse models of endotoxemia, bacteremia, and cecal ligation and puncture, as well as in an ex vivo model of human tissue. Furthermore, we show that Pep19-2.5 can bind and neutralize not only endotoxins but also other bacterial pathogenicity factors, such as those from the Gram-positive bacterium Staphylococcus aureus. This broad neutralization efficiency and the additive action of the peptide with common antibiotics makes it an exceptionally appropriate drug candidate against bacterial sepsis and also offers multiple other medication opportunities.
ABSTRACT: INTRODUCTION: Increasing rates of multi-resistant bacteria are a major problem in the treatment of critically ill patients. Furthermore, conventional antibiotics lead to the release of bacterial derived membrane parts initiating pro-inflammatory cascades with potential harm to the patient. Antimicrobial peptides (AMP) may kill bacteria without releasing pro-inflammatory factors. Thus, we compared three newly developed synthetic anti-lipopolysaccharide peptides (SALPs) with a broader range of efficacy to suppress cytokine release in plasma and CD14 mRNA expression in organ tissue in a murine, polymicrobial sepsis model. METHODS: A randomized, experimental trial was conducted in an animal research facility. Male NMRI mice (n = 90; 8- to 12-weeks old) were randomized to the following six groups: (i) sham operation and parenteral vehicle (NaCl 0.9%) administration (sham); (ii) cecal ligation and puncture (CLP) and vehicle infusion (sepsis-control), (iii) CLP and polymyxin B infusion (polyB), or (iv to vi) CLP and infusion of three different synthetic antimicrobial peptides Peptide 19-2.5 (Pep2.5), Peptide 19-4 (Pep4) or Peptide 19-8 (Pep8). All animals underwent arterial and venous catheterization for hemodynamic monitoring 48 hours prior to CLP or sham-operation. Physical appearance and behavior (activity), plasma cytokine levels, and CD14 mRNA expression in heart, lung, liver, spleen and kidney tissue were determined 24 hours after CLP or sham operation. RESULTS: Only Pep2.5 significantly enhanced the activity after CLP, whereas none of the therapeutic regimens elevated the mean arterial pressure or heart rate. The strongly elevated IL-6, IL-10 and monocyte chemoattractant protein serum levels in septic animals were significantly reduced after Pep2.5 administration (P < 0.001, P < 0.001, and P < 0.001, respectively). Similarly, Pep2.5 significantly reduced the sepsis-induced CD14 mRNA expression in heart (P = 0.003), lung (P = 0.008), and spleen tissue (P = 0.009) but not in kidney and liver. CONCLUSIONS: Structurally variable SALPs exhibit major differences in their anti-inflammatory effect in vivo. Continuous parenteral administration of Pep2.5 is able to reduce sepsis-induced cytokine release and tissue inflammation.
Endotoxins (lipopolysaccharides, LPS) are one of the strongest immunostimulators in nature, responsible for beneficial effects at low, and pathophysiological effects at high concentrations, the latter frequently leading to sepsis and septic shock associated with high mortality in critical care settings. There are no drugs specifically targeting the pathophysiology of sepsis, and new therapeutic agents are therefore urgently needed. The lipopolyamines are a novel class of small molecules designed to sequester and neutralize LPS. To understand the mechanisms underlying the binding and neutralization of LPS toxicity, we have performed detailed biophysical analyses of the interactions of LPS with candidate lipopolyamines which differ in their potencies of LPS neutralization. We examined gel-to-liquid crystalline phase behavior of LPS and of its supramolecular aggregate structures in the absence and presence of lipopolyamines, the ability of such compounds to incorporate into different membrane systems, and the thermodynamics of the LPS:lipopolyamine binding. We have found that the mechanisms which govern the inactivation process of LPS obey similar rules as found for other active endotoxin neutralizers such as certain antimicrobial peptides.
The bacterial cell wall represents the primary target for antimicrobial agents. Microbial destruction is accompanied by the release of potent immunostimulatory membrane constituents. Both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria release a variety of lipoproteins and peptidoglycan fragments. Gram-positive bacteria additionally provide lipoteichoic acids, whereas Gram-negative bacteria also release lipopolysaccharide (LPS, endotoxin), essential component of the outer leaflet of the bacterial cell wall and one of the most potent immunostimulatory molecules known. Immune activation therefore can be considered as an adverse effect of antimicrobial destruction and killing during anti-infective treatment. In contrast to antibiotics, the use of cationic amphiphilic antimicrobial peptides allows both effective bacterial killing and inhibition of the immunostimulatory effect of the released bacterial membrane constituents. The administration of antimicrobial peptides alone or in combination with antibiotic agents thus represents a novel strategy in the antiinfective treatment with potentially important beneficial aspects. Here, data are presented which describe immunological and clinical aspects of the use of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) as therapeutic agents to treat bacterial infection and neutralize the immunostimulatory activity of released cell wall constituents.
The first barrier that an antimicrobial agent must overcome when interacting with its target is the microbial cell wall. In the case of Gram-negative bacteria, additional to the cytoplasmic membrane and the peptidoglycan layer, an outer membrane (OM) is the outermost barrier. The OM has an asymmetric distribution of the lipids with phospholipids and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) located in the inner and outer leaflets, respectively. In contrast, Gram-positive bacteria lack OM and possess a much thicker peptidoglycan layer compared to their Gram-negative counterparts. An additional class of amphiphiles exists in Gram-positives, the lipoteichoic acids (LTA), which may represent important structural components. These long molecules cross-bridge the entire cell envelope with their lipid component inserting into the outer leaflet of the cytoplasmic membrane and the teichoic acid portion penetrating into the peptidoglycan layer. Furthermore, both classes of bacteria have other important amphiphiles, such as lipoproteins, whose importance has become evident only recently. It is not known yet whether any of these amphiphilic components are able to stimulate the immune system under physiological conditions as constituents of intact bacteria. However, all of them have a very high pro-inflammatory activity when released from the cell. Such a release may take place through the interaction with the immune system, or with antibiotics (particularly with those targeting cell wall components), or simply by the bacterial division. Therefore, a given antimicrobial agent must ideally have a double character, namely, it must overcome the bacterial cell wall barrier, without inducing the liberation of the pro-inflammatory amphiphiles. Here, new data are presented which describe the development and use of membrane-active antimicrobial agents, in particular antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) and lipopolyamines. In this way, essential progress was achieved, in particular with respect to the inhibition of deleterious consequences of bacterial infections such as severe sepsis and septic shock.
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