New peptides to fight diseases of apple and pear trees

UdG researcher Ana Afonso developed a new method to prepare molecules against diseases caused by microorganisms.
Antimicrobial peptides from natural sources are excellent candidates for developing therapeutic agents against diseases caused by several microorganisms, since they have high activity and are nontoxic. However, their high cost of production and their instability restrict their use. For this reason, scientists are currently studying the development of new peptides. They are improving their sequence and their structure modification by introducing, for example, biaryl amino acid that derive of tyrosine and phenylalanine.

On her doctoral thesis, entitled Péptidos biarílicos a partir de 4-iodofenilalanina o 3-iodotirosina por borilación y reacción de Suzuki-Miyaura en fase sólida. Avaluación de la actividad antimicrobiana, Ana Afonso studied the preparation of biaryl peptides by borylation on a solid support of phenylalanine and tyrosine residues for Miyaura reaction, followed by arylation step by Suzuki-Miyaura reaction. This approach avoids the solution synthesis and purification of the boronate compounds. It also allows the preparation of a wide range of biaryl peptides from just one boronate peptide.

The methodology developed, one of the main contributions of this study, was extended to the preparation of cyclic peptides containing biaryl link formed by the joining of the side chains of phenylalanine and tyrosine residues.
The evaluation of the biological activity of these peptides allowed the identification of sequences with antibacterial activity against bacteria Erwinia amylovora, Xanthomonas vesicatoria and Pseudomonas syringae, which are responsible for serious diseases in plants of economic interest such as pear and apple trees. The researcher also determined the haemolytic activity of the active peptides, and low toxicity was observed in eukaryotic cells.

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