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Liposome-based drug delivery systems are widely used to improve drug pharmacokinetics but can suffer from slow and unspecific release of encapsulated drugs. Membrane-active peptides, based on sequences derived or inspired from antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), could offer means to trigger and control the release. Cholesterol is used in most liposomal drug delivery systems (DDS) to improve the stability of the formulation, but the activity of AMPs on cholesterol-rich membranes tends to be very low, complicating peptide-triggered release strategies. Here, we show a de novo designed AMP-mimetic peptide that efficiently triggers content release from cholesterol-containing lipid vesicles when covalently conjugated to headgroup-functionalized lipids. Binding to vesicles induces peptide folding and triggers a lipid phase separation, which in the presence of cholesterol results in high local peptide concentrations at the lipid bilayer surface and rapid content release. We anticipate that these results will facilitate the development of peptide-based strategies for controlling and triggering drug release from liposomal drug delivery systems.

Original publication




Journal article


Bioconjug Chem

Publication Date





736 - 746


Cholesterol, Drug Delivery Systems, Lipid Bilayers, Liposomes, Peptides