How do antimicrobial peptides really work? From high resolution structures to whole cell biophysics.
Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are a class of molecules that is widely studied, in large part due to its potential as a basis for novel antimicrobial and cancer therapeutics. Much of the research has been occupied with dissecting the mechanism of interaction between the peptides and model lipid bilayers. Our group has been working on ways to find out how these peptide-lipid interactions are modified by the many additional components of bacteria, such as the carbohydrate, peptidoglycan, and protein components of the cell envelope, as well as how AMPs might interact with components inside the cell. I will present some of our recent work employing solution NMR structural studies of AMPs, molecular dynamics simulations, and solid state NMR and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) studies of AMPs interacting with intact bacterial cells.