Differential effects of alpha-helical and beta-hairpin antimicrobial peptides against Acanthamoeba castellanii

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Sacramento, Rogério Silva do [UNIFESP]
Martins, Rafael Miyazawa [UNIFESP]
Miranda, Antonio de [UNIFESP]
Dobroff, Andrey Sergee Senos [UNIFESP]
Daffre, Sirlei
Foronda, Annette Silva
Freitas, Denise de [UNIFESP]
Schenkman, Sergio [UNIFESP]
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In this work we evaluated the ability of different types of antimicrobial peptides to promote permeabilization and growth inhibition of Acanthamoeba castellanii trophozoites, which cause eye keratitis. We used cationic alpha-helical peptides P5 and a beta-hairpin amphipathic molecule (gomesin), of the spider Acanthoscurria gomesiana haemocytes. A. castellanii permeabilization was obtained after 1 h incubation with micromolar concentrations of both types of peptides. While permeabilization induced by gomesin increased with longer incubations, P5 permeabilization did not increase with time and occurred at doses that are more toxic for SIRC cells, P5, however, at doses below the critical dose used to kill rabbit corneal cells was quite effective in promoting growth inhibition. Similarly, P5 was more effective when serine protease inhibitor was added simultaneously to the permeabilization assay. High performance chromatography followed by mass spectrometry analysis confirmed that, in contrast to gomesin, P5 is hydrolysed by A. castellanii culture supernatants. We conclude that the use of antimicrobial peptides to treat A. castellanii infections requires the search of more specific peptides that are resistant to proteolysis.
Parasitology. New York: Cambridge Univ Press, v. 136, n. 8, p. 813-821, 2009.