Antimicrobial peptides

Antimicrobial peptides and ion channels – towards artificial membrane nano-pores

It is our goal to establish functional and structural information for an extensive series of both naturally occurring antimicrobial peptides (AMP's) and synthetic analogs prepared by simple mutations, incorporation of non-natural amino acids, as well as chemically modified peptides with tails, linkers, or incorporated into nano-scale assemblies generating potential artificial ion- channels. Our interest in interaction of polypeptides with lipid membranes to form channels and pores is not restricted to AMP's but is also a topic of central importance for for prefibrillar oligomers with membrane-permeabilizing properties from amyloid forming peptides, including !-amyloid, calcitonin, and prions. Our synthesis efforts will be directed by detailed studies of natural ion channels along with gradual establishment of information about synthetic modifications to provide a rational basis for the construction of artificial ion channels as alternatives to small molecule antibiotics.