Design of a Potent Antibiotic Peptide Based on the Active Region of Human Defensin 5

Cheng Wang, Mingqiang Shen, Neelakshi Gohain, William D. Tolbert, Fang Chen, Naixin Zhang, Ke Yang, Aiping Wang, Yongping Su, Tianmin Cheng, Jinghong Zhao, Marzena Pazgier*, Junping Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Human defensin 5 (HD5) is a broad-spectrum antibacterial peptide with a C-terminal active region. To promote the development of this peptide into an antibiotic, we initially substituted Glu21 with Arg because it is an electronegative residue located around the active region. Although detrimental to dimer formation, the E21R substitution markedly enhanced the antibacterial activity of HD5 and increased its ability to penetrate cell membranes, demonstrating that increasing the electropositive charge compensated for the effect of dimer disruption. Subsequently, a partial Arg scanning mutagenesis was performed, and Thr7 was selected for replacement with Arg to further strengthen the antibacterial activity. The newly designed peptide, T7E21R-HD5, exhibited potent antibacterial activity, even in saline and serum solutions. In contrast to monomeric E21R-HD5, T7E21R-HD5 assembled into an atypical dimer with parallel β strands, thus expanding the role of increasing electropositive charge in bactericidal activity and providing a useful guide for further defensin-derived antibiotic design. (Graph Presented).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3083-3093
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Medicinal Chemistry
Issue number7
StatePublished - 9 Apr 2015
Externally publishedYes


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