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Modelling of Fibrillation Induced Selective Cytotoxicity of Phenol Soluble Modulin α3

submitted on 21.01.2019, 13:13 and posted on 21.01.2019, 14:38 by Mitradip Das, Sandeep Dash, B. L. Bhargava
Phenol soluble modulin (PSM) α3, the most toxic member of α-toxin in Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, has been recently found to form cross-α amyloid fibrils and is selectively toxic to the mammalian cell membranes. In this work, it has been discovered that hydrophobic interactions play a major role in fibril formation of PSM-α3 strands, with
stabilization energy of 28.7 kCal/mol. We considered two model bilayers mimicking mammalian and bacterial cell membranes, and found that single α-helix strand penetration is energetically unfavourable in both of them. Hence, we propose a simple model using energetics to understand the reason for selective toxicity of the peptide to the mammalian cell membrane. This study, besides enhancing the understanding of PSM-α3, can also act as a stepping stone in future drug development against ​S. aureus.


Email Address of Submitting Author


National Institute of Science Education and Research



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Declaration of Conflict of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.