Induction of apoptosis-like death by periplanetasin-2 in Escherichia coli and contribution of SOS genes

  • Bin Lee
  • Jae Sam Hwang
  • Dong Gun LeeEmail author
Applied microbial and cell physiology


Periplanetasin-2 is a 15-mer antimicrobial peptide (AMP), derived from the American cockroach Periplaneta americana. This novel AMP exhibits potent antibacterial effect against several pathogenic bacteria including Escherichia coli. Distinct from the targeting cell membrane, which is the general antibacterial mechanism of AMP, periplanetasin-2 exerts its antibacterial activity via apoptosis-like death, which is physiologically and mechanistically similar to eukaryotic apoptosis. E. coli cells treated with periplanetasin-2 showed features of apoptosis in a concentration-dependent manner, such as membrane depolarization, DNA fragmentation, caspase-like protein activation, and phosphatidylserine externalization. These physiological changes were attenuated by pretreatment with the reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenger, which demonstrates that periplanetasin-2 induced apoptosis-like death in E. coli by generating ROS. In addition, periplantasin-2-induced apoptotic death was affected by SOS response components. In the absence of RecA, an essential protein for SOS response, apoptosis did not occur and the antibacterial activity of periplanetasin-2 was decreased. In contrast, deletion of the SOS gene dinF caused higher ROS accumulation and apoptotic features were detected. Collectively, these results indicate that the antibacterial mechanism of periplanetasin-2 is ROS-induced apoptosis-like death, which requires RecA for proceeding it, and the role of DinF is assumed to contribute to the ROS defense SOS response.


Antimicrobial peptide Bacterial apoptosis-like death DinF Periplanetasin-2 Reactive oxygen species RecA 


Funding information

This work was supported by a grant from the Next-Generation BioGreen 21 Program (Project No. PJ01325603), Rural Development Administration, Republic of Korea.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical statement

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

253_2018_9561_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (567 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 567 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Life Sciences, BK21 Plus KNU Creative BioResearch GroupKyungpook National UniversityDaeguKorea
  2. 2.Department of Agricultural BiologyNational Academy of Agricultural Science, RDAWanjuRepublic of Korea

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