Although it is commonly known as a helix breaker, proline residues have been found in the alpha-helical regions of many peptides and proteins. The antimicrobial peptide gaegurin displays alpha-helical structure and has a central proline residue (P14). The structure and activity of gaegurin and its alanine derivative (P14A) were determined by various spectroscopic methods, restrained molecular dynamics, and biological assays. Both P14 and P14A exhibited cooperative helix formation in solution, but the helical stability of P14 was reduced substantially when compared to that of P14A. Chemical-shift analysis indicated that both of the peptides formed curved helices and that P14 showed diminished stability in the region around the central proline. However, hydrogen-exchange data revealed remarkable differences in the location of stable amide protons. P14 showed a stable region in the concave side of the curved helix, while P14A exhibited a stable region in the central turn of the helix. The model structure of P14 exhibited a pronounced kink, in contrast to,the uniform helix of P14A. Both peptides showed comparable binding affinities for negatively charged lipids, while P14 had a considerably reduced affinity for a neutral lipid. With its destabilized alpha-helix, P14 exhibited greater antibacterial activity than did P14A, Hence, electrostatic interaction between helical peptides and lipid membranes is believed to be the dominant factor for antibacterial activity. Moreover, helical stability can modulate peptide binding to membranes that is driven by electrostatic interactions. The observation that P14 is a more potent antibacterial agent than P14A implies that the helical kink of P14 plays an important role in the disruption of bacterial membranes.