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Grant number: 14/03748-9
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2014
Effective date (End): April 30, 2019
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Biochemistry - Chemistry of Macromolecules
Principal Investigator:Osvaldo Novais de Oliveira Junior
Grantee:Simone Cristina Barbosa
Home Institution: Instituto de Física de São Carlos (IFSC). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Carlos , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:13/14262-7 - Nanostructured films from biologically-relevant materials, AP.TEM
Associated scholarship(s):15/15427-5 - Immunomodulatory and antimicrobial properties of modified cationic peptides: IDR-1018 and IDR-1002., BE.EP.PD


The increase in super-resistant bacteria to traditional antibiotics is a common problem nowadays mainly due to the abusive use of these drugs. Nearly 20 years ago a new class of molecules, the antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), was found to have potent microbicidal properties. The AMPs have a non-specific, fast and lethal mechanism of action against microorganisms, causing cell death by disrupting the cell membrane. This occurs due to the mechanism of pore formation (Barrel-stave, toroidal and carpet models) or transport of peptide across the membrane resulting in its binding to intracellular molecules and inhibiting cell wall biosynthesis, DNA, RNA and protein synthesis. The toxicity of AMPs is small because of their physical chemical properties (they are mainly cationic), which usually allows to distinguish between eukaryotic cells (zwitterionic) and bacterial cells (anionic). This project aims to determine the mechanism of action of two cyclic AMPs, labaditin, a hydrophobic peptide obtained by the binding of its N- and C- terminal regions and active against Gram-positive Streptococcus mutans; and bactenecin a cationic peptide cyclized via a disulfide bridge and active against Burkholderia pseudomallei, causative agent of melioidosis. Cyclic peptides have greater conformational restriction, are more resistant to proteolytic degradation and often have greater antibacterial activity than their linear analogues. Thus, using Langmuir monolayers as model systems of biomembranes and in situ characterization techniques such as PM- IRRAS and Brewster angle microscopy (BAM), this project aims to unravel the mechanism of action of these compounds correlating their structure (linear or cyclic) with their antimicrobial activity. Also, we aim to evaluate the ability of the peptide L and D, ±-Labaditin, similar to Gramicidin, in forming nanotubes with high effectiveness against bacteria, but low hemolytic activity.

Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
HANEY, EVAN F.; BARBOSA, SIMONE C.; BAQUIR, BEVERLIE; HANCOCK, ROBERT E. W. Influence of Non-natural Cationic Amino Acids on the Biological Activity Profile of Innate Defense Regulator Peptides. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, v. 62, n. 22, p. 10294-10304, NOV 28 2019. Web of Science Citations: 0.
BARBOSA, SIMONE C.; NOBRE, THATYANE M.; VOLPATI, DIOGO; CILLI, EDUARDO M.; CORREA, DANIEL S.; OLIVEIRA, JR., OSVALDO N. The cyclic peptide labaditin does not alter the outer membrane integrity of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, v. 9, FEB 13 2019. Web of Science Citations: 1.
BARBOSA, SIMONE C.; NOBRE, THATYANE M.; VOLPATI, DIOGO; CIANCAGLINI, PIETRO; CILLI, EDUARDO M.; LORENZON, ESTEBAN N.; OLIVEIRA, JR., OSVALDO N. The importance of cyclic structure for Labaditin on its antimicrobial activity against Staphylococcus aureus. COLLOIDS AND SURFACES B-BIOINTERFACES, v. 148, p. 453-459, DEC 1 2016. Web of Science Citations: 5.

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