Computational design of the lasso peptide antibiotic microcin J25

Si Jia Pan, Wai Ling Cheung, Ho Ki Fung, Christodoulos A. Floudas, A. James Link

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Microcin J25 (MccJ25) is a 21 amino acid (aa) ribosomally synthesized antimicrobial peptide with an unusual structure in which the eight N-terminal residues form a covalently cyclized macrolactam ring through which the remaining 13 aa tail is fed. An open question is the extent of sequence space that can occupy such an extraordinary, highly constrained peptide fold. To begin answering this question, here we have undertaken a computational redesign of the MccJ25 peptide using a two-stage sequence selection procedure based on both energy minimization and fold specificity. Eight of the most highly ranked sequences from the design algorithm, each of which contained two or three amino acid substitutions, were expressed in Escherichia coli and tested for production and antimicrobial activity. Six of the eight variants were successfully produced by E.coli at production levels comparable with that of the wild-type peptide. Of these six variants, three retain detectable antimicrobial activity, although this activity is reduced relative to wild-type MccJ25. The results here build upon previous findings that even rigid, constrained structures like the lasso architecture are amenable to redesign. Furthermore, this work provides evidence that a large amount of amino acid variation is tolerated by the lasso peptide fold.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-282
Number of pages8
JournalProtein Engineering, Design and Selection
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


  • antimicrobial peptide
  • cyclic peptide
  • global optimization
  • lasso peptide
  • protein design


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