Arginine Homopeptide of 11 Residues as a Model of Cell-Penetrating Peptides in the Interaction with Bacterial Membranes

Mónica Aróstica, Roberto Rojas, Luis Felipe Aguilar, Patricio Carvajal-Rondanelli, Fernando Albericio, Fanny Guzmán, Constanza Cárdenas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cell-penetrating peptides rich in arginine are good candidates to be considered as antibacterial compounds, since peptides have a lower chance of generating resistance than commonly used antibiotics. Model homopeptides are a useful tool in the study of activity and its correlation with a secondary structure, constituting an initial step in the construction of functional heteropeptides. In this report, the 11-residue arginine homopeptide (R11) was used to determine its antimicrobial activity against Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli and the effect on the secondary structure, caused by the substitution of the arginine residue by the amino acids Ala, Pro, Leu and Trp, using the scanning technique. As a result, most of the substitutions improved the antibacterial activity, and nine peptides were significantly more active than R11 against the two tested bacteria. The cell-penetrating characteristic of the peptides was verified by SYTOX green assay, with no disruption to the bacterial membranes. Regarding the secondary structure in four different media—PBS, TFE, E. coli membrane extracts and DMPG vesicles—the polyproline II structure, the one of the parent R11, was not altered by unique substitutions, although the secondary structure of the peptides was best defined in E. coli membrane extract. This work aimed to shed light on the behavior of the interaction model of penetrating peptides and bacterial membranes to enhance the development of functional heteropeptides.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1180
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • antibacterial assays
  • arginine homopeptide
  • circular dichroism
  • model membrane interactions
  • secondary structure PPII


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