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Bonmatin, JM ; Laprevote, O ; Peypoux, F

Diversity among microbial cyclic lipopeptides : iturins and surfactins. Activity-structure relationships to design new bioactive agents

Combinatorial Chemistry & High Throughput Screening 6 (6) 541-556

par Administrateur - publié le , mis à jour le

Abstract :

A prominent group of bioactive lipopeptides produced by Bacillus species is constituted by iturins, surfactins and lichenysins. Interest in such substances results in their exceptional surfactant power, and their valuable antifungal, antibacterial, antitumoral and anti-Mycoplasma properties. As is typical for peptidic secondary-metabolites synthesized by the polyenzymic pathway, they are produced as mixtures of components varying in the peptidic and / or in the lipidic structure. In the context of structure-activity relationships, it is possible to take advantage of the adaptability of the biosynthesis system by systematically adding selected amino acids in the culture medium of the producing bacterium. When an amino acid is used as the sole nitrogen source, it is inserted direcly into selected positions of the peptide sequence, thus amplifying the original structural microheterogeneity via a production of variants. This method revealed very efficient for increasing the amounts of preexisting variants and for building new variants of surfactins and lichenysins but totally inefficient with iturins. In this group, the peptidic diversity strictly depends on the selected strain. So far the screening remained the only method to discover new iturins. Another interesting peculiarity is the common occurrence in a single strain of two lipopeptides with different core structures such as surfactins and iturins. Taken together, these features led to an extensive metabolite pattern. Besides, engineered variants and chemical derivatives enlarged the array of available molecules. Despite the high degree of chemical similarity, the separation of variants and / or homologues was successfully achieved by reversed-phase HPLC leading to well-separated compounds ideally suited to investigation of structure-activity relationships. Improved physical techniques such as 2D-NMR and mass spectrometry allowed to describe efficiently and rapidly the composition of cyclic lipopeptides even in mixtures containing several variants. From NMR, the 3D structure and dynamics gave crucial data for fine structure-activity relationships as well as for understanding of the properties at the membrane and / or at the air / water interface. Here the role of residues was identified in the context of hydrophobic and electrostatic interactions that play a leader role. Such a comprehensive approach, based on both structural and biosynthesis knowledge, opened the way to rational design for enhanced properties and its validity was confirmed with 10 fold higher surfactant efficacy.