Previous investigations indicate that α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (α-MSH) and certain synthetic analogues of it exert antimicrobial effects against bacteria and yeasts. However, these molecules have weak activity in standard microbiology conditions and this hampers a realistic clinical use. The aim in the present study was to identify novel peptides with broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity in growth medium. To this purpose, the Gly10 residue in the [DNal(2′)-7, Phe-12]-MSH(6-13) sequence was replaced with conventional and unconventional amino acids with different degrees of conformational rigidity. Two derivatives in which Gly10 was replaced by the residues Aic and Cha, respectively, had substantial activity against Candida strains, including C. albicans, C. glabrata, and C. krusei and against gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. Conformational analysis indicated that the helical structure along residues 8-13 is a key factor in antimicrobial activity. Synthetic analogues of α-MSH can be valuable agents to treat infections in humans. The structural preferences associated with antimicrobial activity identified in this research can help further development of synthetic melanocortins with enhanced biological activity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)