The increasing number of multidrug-resistant microbes now emerging necessitates the identification of novel antimicrobial agents. Plants produce a great variety of antimicrobial peptides including hundreds of small, nodule-specific cysteine-rich NCR peptides that, in the legume Medicago truncatula, govern the differentiation of endosymbiotic nitrogen fixing bacteria and, in vitro, can display potent antibacterial activities. In this study, the potential candidacidal activity of 19 NCR peptides was investigated. Cationic NCR peptides having an isoelectric point above 9 were efficient in killing Candida albicans, one of the most common fungal pathogens of humans. None of the tested NCR peptides were toxic for immortalized human epithelial cells at concentrations that effectively killed the fungus; however, at higher concentrations, some of them inhibited the division of the cells. Furthermore, the cationic peptides successfully inhibited C. albicans induced human epithelial cell death in an in vitro coculture model. These results highlight the therapeutic potential of cationic NCR peptides in the treatment of candidiasis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)