We studied membrane activity of the bacterial peptide TisB involved in persister cell formation. TisB and its analogs form multi-state ion-conductive pores in planar lipid bilayers with all states displaying similar anionic selectivity. TisB analogs differing by ±1 elementary charges show corresponding changes in selectivity. Probing TisB pores with poly-(ethylene glycol)s reveals only restricted partitioning even for the smallest polymers, suggesting that the pores are characterized by a relatively small diameter. These findings allow us to suggest that TisB forms clusters of narrow pores that are essential for its mechanism of action.
Published by Elsevier B.V.