Prof Frances Separovic
The University of Melbourne
Structure and activity determination of membrane-active peptides
Australian Research Council
Membrane-active peptides, such as antimicrobial and amyloid (Ab) peptides, play an important role in disease. With the growth of antibiotic resistance and increase in Alzheimers disease, which is epitomised by plaques of Ab, new drugs are required. Although Ab is toxic in neuronal cell cultures and disrupts cell membranes, the mechanism is unknown. Antimicrobial peptides that target bacterial membranes have evolved as a defence mechanism against infection and, since membranes show little genetic adaptation, could be drug candidates. Model membranes will be developed to elucidate the mechanism of action and key molecular features that determine affinity for membrane lipids of an antimicrobial peptide and full length Ab peptides.