Identification of the Crucial Residues in the Early Insertion of Pardaxin into Different Phospholipid Bilayers

Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are part of the innate host defense system, and they are produced by living organisms to defend themselves against infections. Pardaxin is a cationic AMP with antimicrobial and antitumor activities that has potential to be used as a novel antibiotic or for drug delivery in cancer therapy. This peptide acts on the membrane of target cells and can lead to lysis using different mechanisms of action. Here, we conducted 4.5 μs all-atom molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to determine the critical fragments and residues of Pardaxin for early insertion into different lipid bilayers. Our results revealed that the N-terminal domain of the peptide, particularly the Phe 2 and (/or) Phe 3 residues, has a crucial role in early insertion, independent of the type of lipid bilayers.