An Electrochemical Study into the Interaction between Complement-Derived Peptides and DOPC Mono- and Bilayers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Electrochemical methods employing the hanging mercury drop electrode were used to study the interaction between variants of the complement-derived antimicrobial peptide CNY21 (CNYITELRRQH ARASHLGLAR) and dioleoyl phosphatidylcholine (DOPC) monolayers. Capacitance potential and impedance measurements showed that the CNY21 analogues investigated interact with DOPC monolayers coating the mercury drop. Increasing the peptide hydrophobicity by substituting the two histidine residues with leucine resulted in a deeper peptide penetration into the hydrophobic region of the DOPC monolayer, indicated by an increase in the dielectric constant of the lipid monolayer (Deltaepsilon = 2.0 after 15 min interaction). Increasing the peptide net charge from +3 to +5 by replacing the histidines by lysines, on the other hand, arrests the peptide in the lipid head group region. Reduction of electroactive ions (Tl+, Pb2+, Cd2+, and Eu3+) at the monolayer-coated electrode was employed to further characterize the types of defects induced by the peptides. All peptides studied permeabilize the monolayer to Tl+ to an appreciable extent, but this effect is more pronounced for the more hydrophobic peptide (CNY21L), which also allows penetration of larger ions and ions of higher valency. The results for the various ions indicate that charge repulsion rather than ion size is the determining factor for cation penetration through peptide-induced defects in the DOPC monolayer. The effects obtained for monolayers were compared to results obtained with bilayers from liposome leakage and circular dichroism studies for unilamellar DOPC vesicles, and in situ ellipsometry for supported DOPC bilayers. Trends in peptide-induced liposome leakage were similar to peptide effects on electrochemical impedance and permeability of electroactive ions for the monolayer system, demonstrating that formation of transmembrane pores alone does not constitute the mechanism of action for the peptides investigated. Instead, our results point to the importance of local packing defects in the lipid membrane in close proximity to the adsorbed peptide molecules.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Dermatology and Venereal Diseases
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-216
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Publication categoryResearch