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Dermaseptins, a family of antimicrobial peptides, are believed to act by forming amphipathic alpha-helices which associate with the cell membrane, leading to its permeabilisation and disruption. A simple mean field method is described for simulation of the interactions of peptides with lipid bilayers which includes an approximate representation of the electrostatic effects of the head-group region of the bilayer. Starting from an atomistic model of a PC phospholipid bilayer we calculate an average electrostatic potential along the bilayer normal. By combining the interaction of the peptide with this electrostatic potential and with the hydrophobic core of the membrane we arrive at a more complete description of peptide-bilayer energetics than would be obtained using sidechain hydrophobicities alone. Using this interaction potential in MD simulations of the frog skin peptide dermaseptin B reveals that the lipid bilayer stabilises the alpha-helical conformation of the peptide. This is in agreement with FTIR data. A surface associated orientation thus appears to be the most stable arrangement of the peptide, at least at zero ionic strength and without taking account of possible peptide-peptide interactions.


Journal article


Biophys Chem

Publication Date





145 - 159


Algorithms, Amino Acid Sequence, Amphibian Proteins, Anti-Bacterial Agents, Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides, Electrochemistry, Energy Transfer, Lipid Bilayers, Molecular Sequence Data, Peptides, Spectroscopy, Fourier Transform Infrared