U.S. Department of Defense


Date of this Version



Published in Peptides, (2011), doi:10.1016/j.peptides.2011.01.020


We investigated the toxicity of synthetic antimicrobial decapeptide KSL-W on normal human gingival epithelial cell cultures, its effect on Candida albicans adhesion and growth, and the activation of epithelial cell innate immunity. Our results indicate that KSL-W had no toxic effect on cell adhesion or growth, suggesting its safe use with human cells. Pre-treating C. albicans with KSL-W attenuated the yeast’s virulence as demonstrated by its reduced adhesion and growth on engineered human oral mucosa epithelium and the subsequent decreased expression of some innate defense molecules by targeted epithelial cells. Indeed, the expression of Toll-like receptors and human β-defensins was reduced in tissues infected with KSL-W-treated Candida. Proinflammtory cytokine secretion (IL-1 β and IL-6) by the epithelial cells was also regulated by KSL-W in a manner similar to that of antifungal molecule amphotericin B. These findings therefore show that KSL-W is safe for use with human cells and is able to attenuate Candida virulence by modulating its effects on host innate immunity. This study proposes the potential application of KSL-W peptide as an alternative antifungal agent.