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Title: Specific metallo-protein interactions and antimicrobial activity in Histatin-5, an intrinsically disordered salivary peptide

Histatin-5 (Hst-5) is an antimicrobial, salivary protein that is involved in the host defense system. Hst-5 has been proposed to bind functionally relevant zinc and copper but presents challenges in structural studies due to its disordered conformation in aqueous solution. Here, we used circular dichroism (CD) and UV resonance Raman (UVRR) spectroscopy to define metallo-Hst-5 interactions in aqueous solution. A zinc-containing Hst-5 sample exhibits shifted Raman bands, relative to bands observed in the absence of zinc. Based on comparison to model compounds and to a family of designed, zinc-binding beta hairpins, the alterations in the Hst-5 UVRR spectrum are attributed to zinc coordination by imidazole side chains. Zinc addition also shifted a tyrosine aromatic ring UVRR band through an electrostatic interaction. Copper addition did not have these effects. A sequence variant, H18A/H19A, was employed; this mutant has less potent antifungal activity, when compared to Hst-5. Zinc addition had only a small effect on the thermal stability of this mutant. Interestingly, both zinc and copper addition shifted histidine UVRR bands in a manner diagnostic for metal coordination. Results obtained with a K13E/R22G mutant were similar to those obtained with wildtype. These experiments show that H18 and H19 contribute to a more » zinc binding site. In the H18A/H19A mutant the specificity of the copper/zinc binding sites is lost. The experiments implicate specific zinc binding to be important in the antimicrobial activity of Hst-5.

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Scientific Reports
Nature Publishing Group
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National Science Foundation
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