The inhibitory activity of a truncated derivative of the natural amphibian skin peptide dermaseptin s3-(1-16)-NH2 [DS s3 (1-16)] against Saccharomyces cerevisiae was studied. Significant growth inhibition was observed after exposure to 3.45 microgram of the peptide per ml at pH 6.0 and 7.0, with complete growth inhibition occurring at 8.63 microgram of peptide per ml for all pH values tested. Using confocal scanning laser microscopy, we have shown that DS s3 (1-16) disrupted the yeast cell membrane resulting in the gross permeabilization of the cell to the nuclear stain ethidium bromide. However, the principal inhibitory action of the peptide was not due to disruption of intracellular pH homeostasis. Instead, growth inhibition by the peptide correlated with the efflux of important cellular constituents such as ADP, ATP, RNA, and DNA into the surrounding medium. The combination of DS s3 (1-16) with mild heating temperatures as low as 35 degreesC significantly enhanced the inhibitory effect of the peptide (8.63 microgram/ml), and at 45 degreesC greater than 99% of the population was killed in 10 min. In summary, a derivative of a natural antimicrobial peptide has potential, either alone or in combination with mild heating, to prevent the growth of or kill spoilage yeast.
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