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Synthesis and antimicrobial activity of cysteine-free coprisin nonapeptides.

Lee J, Lee D1, Choi H, Kim HH, Kim H, Hwang JS, Lee DG, Kim JI.

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2014 Jan 10;443(2):483-8.

School of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, College of Natural Sciences, Kyungpook National University, Daehak-ro 80, Buk-gu, Daegu 702-701, Republic of Korea and

College of Pharmacy, Chung-Ang University, Seoul, Republic of Korea and

Department of Agricultural Biology, Natural Academy of Agricultural Science, RDA, Suwon 441-853, Republic of Korea and

School of Life Sciences, Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, Oryong-dong, Buk-gu, Gwangju 500-712, Republic of Korea. Electronic address: [email protected]




Coprisin is a 43-mer defensin-like peptide from the dung beetle, Copris tripartitus. CopA3 (LLCIALRKK-NH₂), a 9-mer peptide containing a single free cysteine residue at position 3 of its sequence, was derived from the {Alpha}-helical region of coprisin and exhibits potent antibacterial and anti-inflammatory activities. The single cysteine implies a tendency for dimerization; however, it remains unknown whether this cysteine residue is indispensible for CopA3’s antimicrobial activity. To address this issue, in the present study we synthesized eight cysteine-substituted monomeric CopA3 analogs and two dimeric analogs, CopA3 (Dimer) and CopIK (Dimer), and evaluated their antimicrobial effects against bacteria and fungi, as well as their hemolyticactivity toward human erythrocytes. Under physiological conditions, CopA3 (Mono) exhibits a 6/4 (monomer/dimer) molar ratio in HPLC area percent, indicating that its effects on bacterial strains likely reflect a CopA3 (Mono)/CopA3 (Dimer) mixture. We also report the identification of CopW, a newcysteine-free nonapeptide derived from CopA3 that has potent antimicrobial activity with virtually no hemolytic activity. Apparently, the cysteine residue in CopA3 is not essential for its antimicrobial function. Notably, CopW also exhibited significant synergistic activity with ampicillin and showed more potent antifungal activity than either wild-type coprisin or melittin.

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