Mixed Chirality α-Helix in a Stapled Bicyclic and a Linear Antimicrobial Peptide Revealed by X-Ray Crystallography
The peptide α-helix is right-handed when containing amino acids with L-chirality, and left-handed with D-chirality. What happens in between is largely unknown, however α-helices have not been reported with mixed chirality sequences unless a strong non-natural helix inducer such as amino-isobutyric acid was used. Herein we report the discovery of a membrane disruptive amphiphilic antimicrobial undecapeptide containing seven L- and four D-residues forming a stable right-handed α-helix in stapled bicyclic and linear forms. The α-helical fold is evidenced by X-ray crystallography and supported in solution by circular dichroism spectra as well as molecular dynamics simulations. The linear mixed chirality peptide is as active as the L-sequence against multidrug resistant bacteria but shows no hemolysis and full stability against serum proteolysis. Searching for mixed chirality analogs preserving folding might be generally useful to optimize α-helical bioactive peptides.