Antimicrobial peptides and proteins represent an important class of plant defensive compounds against pathogens and provide a rich source of lead compounds in the field of drug discovery. We describe the effective preparation of the cysteine-rich snakin-1 and -2 antimicrobial peptides by using a combination of solid-phase synthesis and native chemical ligation. A subsequent cysteine/cystine mediated oxidative folding to form the six internal disulfide bonds concurrently gave the folded proteins in 40-50 % yield. By comparative evaluation of mass spectrometry, HPLC, biological data and trypsin digest mapping of folded synthetic snakin-2 compared to natural snakin-2, we demonstrated that synthetic snakin-2 possesses full antifungal activity and displayed similar chromatographic behaviour to natural snakin-2. Trypsin digest analysis allowed tentative assignment of three of the purported six disulfide bonds.
Keywords: antibiotics; natural products; peptides; solid-phase synthesis; structural biology.
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