March 22, 2010
Non-toxic anti-infective agents from natural sources

Peptides from frog skin show potent, broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity but their therapeutic potential is limited by haemolytic activity. NMR spectroscopy and molecular modelling of the structures of antimicrobial peptides obtained in Dr. Chandralal Hewage’s laboratory demonstrate the amphipathic character of the helical segments of these bio-active peptides. It is proposed that the marked decrease in haemolytic activity produced by the substitution of one amino acid, Glycine, by an alternative one, Alanine, arises from a decrease in both helicity and hydrophobicity. This study facilitates the development of potent but non-toxic anti-infective agents from natural sources. This work has been highly praised by the editors of the BBA Journal of Proteins and Proteomics and was selected for the cover of its April 2010 issue.

Photo: cover of April 2010 BBA Journal

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