The impact of lung proteases on snake‐derived antimicrobial peptides

Shannice E. Creane, Simon R. Carlile, Damian Downey, Sinéad Weldon, John P. Dalton, Clifford C. Taggart*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Downloads (Pure)


Respiratory infections are a leading cause of global morbidity and mortality and are of significant concern for individuals with chronic inflammatory lung diseases. There is an urgent need for novel antimicrobials. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are naturally occurring innate immune response peptides with therapeutic potential. However, therapeutic development has been hindered by issues with stability and cytotoxicity. Availing of direct drug delivery to the affected site, for example the lung, can reduce unwanted systemic side effects and lower the required dose. As cystic fibrosis (CF) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) lungs typically exhibit elevated protease levels, the aim of this study was to assess their impact on snake‐derived AMPs. Peptide cleavage was determined using SDS‐PAGE and antimicrobial and anti‐inflammatory activities of neutrophil elastase (NE)‐incubated peptides were assessed using a radial diffusion assay (RDA) and an in vitro LPS‐induced inflammation model, respectively. Although the snake‐derived AMPs were found to be susceptible to cleavage by lung proteases including NE, several retained their function following NE‐incubation. This facilitated the design of novel truncated derivatives that retained functionality following NE incubation. Snake‐derived AMPs are tractable candidate treatments for use in environments that feature elevated NE levels, such as the CF airways.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1106
Number of pages26
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This research was funded by the Department for the Economy.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Antimicrobial
  • Antimicrobial peptide
  • Anti‐inflamma-tory
  • Inflammation
  • Protease
  • Stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'The impact of lung proteases on snake‐derived antimicrobial peptides'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this