Anti-inflammatory effects of glycosaminoglycan (GAG) derived from cricket (Gryllus bimaculatus, Gb) were investigated in a complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA)-treated chronic arthritic rat model. This GAG produced a significant anti-edema effect as evidenced by inhibition of C-reactive protein (CRP) and rheumatoid factor, and interfered with atherogenesis by reducing proinflammatory cytokine levels of (1) vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) production in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC), (2) interleukin-6, (3) prostaglandin E2-stimulated lipopolysaccharide in RAW 264.7 cells, and (4) tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-? production in normal splenocytes, in a dose-dependent manner. This GAG was also found to induce nitric oxide (NO) production in HUVEC cells and elevated endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) activity levels. Histological findings demonstrated the fifth lumbar vertebrae (LV) dorsal root ganglion, which was linked to the paw treated with Gb GAG, was repaired against CFA-induced cartilage destruction. Further, combined indomethacin (5 mg/kg)-Gb GAG (10 mg/kg) inhibited more effectively CFA-induced paw edema at 3 h and 2 or 3 d after treatment to levels comparable to only the anti-inflammatory drug indomethacin. Ultraviolet (UV)-irritated skin inflammation also downregulated nuclear factor ?B (NF?B) activity in transfected HaCaT cells. Data suggest that the anti-inflammatory effects of GAG obtained from cricket (Gb) may be useful for treatment of inflammatory diseases including chronic arthritis.
Neutrophils play an important role in the initiation of innate immunity against infection and injury. Although many different types of G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) are functionally expressed in neutrophils, no reports have demonstrated functional expression of umami taste receptor in these cells. We observed that mouse neutrophils express the umami taste receptor T1R1/T1R3 through RNA sequencing and quantitative RT-PCR analysis. Stimulation of mouse neutrophils with L-alanine or L-serine, which are ligands for the umami taste receptor, elicited not only ERK or p38 MAPK phosphorylation but also chemotactic migration. Moreover, addition of L-alanine or L-serine markedly reduced the production of several cytokines including TNF-? induced by lipopolysaccharide through inhibition of NF-?B activity or STAT3 phosphorylation in neutrophils. Our findings demonstrate that neutrophils express the umami taste receptor, through which tastants stimulate neutrophils, resulting in chemotactic migration, and attenuation of LPS-induced inflammatory response.
CopA3 is a homodimeric ?-helical peptide derived from coprisin which is a defensin-like antimicrobial peptide that was identified from the dung beetle, Copris tripartitus. CopA3 has been reported to have anticancer activity against leukemia cancer cells. In the present study, we investigated the anticancer activity of CopA3 in human gastric cancer cells. CopA3 reduced cell viability and it was cytotoxic to gastric cancer cells in the MTS and LDH release assay, respectively. CopA3 was shown to induce necrotic cell death of the gastric cancer cells by flow cytometric analysis and acridine orange/ethidium bromide staining. CopA3-induced cell death was mediated by specific interactions with phosphatidylserine, a membrane component of cancer cells. Taken together, these data indicated that CopA3 mainly caused necrosis of gastric cancer cells, probably through interactions with phosphatidylserine, which suggests the potential utility of CopA3 as a cancer therapeutic.
The larval form of Tenebrio molitor (T. molitor) has been eaten in many countries and provides benefits as a new food source of protein for humans. However, no information exists regarding its safety for humans. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the genotoxicity and repeated dose oral toxicity of the freeze-dried powder of T. molitor larvae. The genotoxic potential was evaluated by a standard battery testing: bacterial reverse mutation test, in vitro chromosome aberration test, and in vivo micronucleus test. To assess the repeated dose toxicity, the powder was administered once daily by oral gavage to Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats at dose levels of 0, 300, 1000 and 3000 mg/kg/day for 28 days. The parameters which were applied to the study were mortality, clinical signs, body and organ weights, food consumption, ophthalmology, urinalysis, hematology, serum chemistry, gross findings and histopathologic examination. The freezedried powder of T. molitor larvae was not mutagenic or clastogenic based on results of in vitro and in vivo genotoxicity assays. Furthermore, no treatment-related changes or findings were observed in any parameters in rats after 28 days oral administration. In conclusion, the freeze-dried powder of T. molitor larvae was considered to be non-genotoxic and the NOAEL (No Observed Adverse Effect Level) was determined to be 3000 mg/kg/day in both sexes of SD rats under our experimental conditions.
We recently isolated a polypeptide from the earthworm Lumbricus terrestris that is structurally similar to defensin, a well-known antibacterial peptide. An 11-mer antibacterial peptide (NH2-RNRRWCIDQQA), designated Lumbricusin, was synthesized based on the amino acid sequence of the isolated polypeptide. Since we previously reported that CopA3, a dung beetle peptide, enhanced neuronal cell proliferation, we here examined whether Lumbricusin exerted neurotropic and/or neuroprotective effects. Lumbricusin treatment induced a time-dependent increase (?51%) in the proliferation of human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells. Lumbricusin also significantly inhibited the apoptosis and decreased viability induced by treatment with 6-hydroxy dopamine, a Parkinson's disease-mimicking agent. Immunoblot analyses revealed that Lumbricusin treatment increased ubiquitination of p27(Kip1) protein, a negative regulator of cell-cycle progression, in SH-SY5Y cells, and markedly promoted its degradation. Notably, adenoviral-mediated over-expression of p27(Kip1) significantly blocked the antiapoptotic effect of Lumbricusin in 6-hydroxy dopamine-treated SH-SY5Y cells. These results suggest that promotion of p27(Kip1) degradation may be the main mechanism underlying the neuroprotective and neurotropic effects of Lumbricusin.
The centipede Scolopendra subspinipes mutilans is an environmentally beneficial and medically important arthropod species. Although this species is increasingly applied as a reliable source of new antimicrobial peptides, the transcriptome of this species is a prerequisite for more rational selection of antimicrobial peptides. In this report, we isolated total RNA from the whole body of adult centipedes, S. subspinipes mutilans, that were nonimmunized and immunized against Escherichia coli, and we generated a total of 77,063 pooled contigs and singletons using high-throughput sequencing. To screen putative antimicrobial peptides, in silico analyses of the S. subspinipes mutilans transcriptome were performed based on the physicochemical evidence of length, charge, isoelectric point, and in vitro and in vivo aggregation scores together with the existence of continuous antimicrobial peptide stretches. Moreover, we excluded some transcripts that showed similarity with both previously known antimicrobial peptides and the human proteome, had a proteolytic cleavage site, and had downregulated expression compared with the nonimmunized sample. As a result, we selected 17 transcripts and tested their antimicrobial activity with a radial diffusion assay. Among them, ten synthetic peptides experimentally showed antimicrobial activity against microbes and no toxicity to mouse erythrocytes. Our results provide not only a useful set of antimicrobial peptide candidates and an efficient strategy for novel antimicrobial peptide development but also the transcriptome data of a big centipede as a valuable resource.
In our ongoing research to find therapeutic compounds for Alzheimer's disease (AD) from natural resources, the inhibitory activity of the BACE1 enzyme by Tenebrio molitor larvae and its major compounds were evaluated. The T. molitor larvae extract and its fractions exhibited strong BACE1 suppression. The major components of hexane fraction possessing both high yield and strong BACE1 inhibition were determined by thin layer chromatography, gas chromatography, and nuclear magnetic resonance analysis. A remarkable composition of unsaturated long chain fatty acids, including oleic acid and linoleic acid, were identified. Oleic acid, in particular, noncompetitively attenuated BACE1 activity with a half-maximal inhibitory concentration (IC??) value of 61.31 ?M and Ki value of 34.3??M. Furthermore, the fatty acids were stably interacted with BACE1 at different allosteric sites of the enzyme bound with the OH of CYS319 and the NH? of TYR320 for oleic acid and with the C=O group of GLN304 for linoleic acid. Here, we first revealed novel pharmacophore features of oleic acids and linoleic acid to BACE1 by in silico docking studies. The present findings would clearly suggest potential guidelines for designing novel BACE1 selective inhibitors.
Clostridium difficile causes mucosal damage and diarrhea by releasing two exotoxins: toxin A and toxin B. C. difficile colitis is associated with alterations in bowel flora and the failure to mount an effective antibody response. The aim of the current study was to investigate whether antitoxin sera prevent toxin-A-induced apoptosis, cytoskeletal disaggregation, cell detachment, and tight junction loss in cultured colonic epithelial cells. Serum samples were isolated from mice that survived a C. difficile infection following antibiotic treatment, and the antitoxin effects of these samples were investigated in toxin-A-exposed HT29 colonic epithelial cells and a toxin-A-induced animal model of gut inflammation. Unchallenged mice did not produce IgG against toxin A, whereas serum (antiserum) from C. difficile-challenged mice showed significant IgG responses against toxin A. Treatment with the antiserum markedly inhibited mucosal damage and inflammation in the toxin-A-treated mouse model. In contrast to control mouse serum, the antiserum also markedly inhibited toxin-A-induced DNA fragmentation, dephosphorylation of paxillin and Epo receptor (EpoR), deacetylation of tubulin, and upregulation of p21(WAF1/CIP1) and p53. Taken together, these results reveal that the generated antitoxin serum has biotherapeutic effects in preventing various C. difficile toxin-A-induced cellular toxicities.
Defensins, which are small cationic molecules produced by organisms as part of their innate immune response, share a common structural scaffold stabilized by three disulfide bridges. Coprisin is a 43-amino acid defensin-like peptide from Copris tripartitus. Here, we report the intramolecular disulfide connectivity of cysteine-rich coprisin and show that it is the same as in other insect defensins. The disulfide bond pairings of coprisin were determined by combining the enzymatic cleavage and mass analysis. We found that loss of any single disulfide bond in coprisin eliminated all antibacterial, but not antifungal, activity. Circular dichroism (CD) analysis showed that two disulfide bonds, Cys20-Cys39 and Cys24-Cys41, stabilize coprisin's ?-helical region. Moreover, BLAST search against UniProtKB database revealed that coprisin's ?-helical region is highly homologous to those of other insect defensins.
NADH:quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1) is known to be involved in the regulation of energy synthesis and metabolism, and the functional studies of NQO1 have largely focused on metabolic disorders. Here, we show for the first time that compared to NQO1-WT mice, NQO1-KO mice exhibited a marked increase of permeability and spontaneous inflammation in the gut. In the DSS-induced colitis model, NQO1-KO mice showed more severe inflammatory responses than NQO1-WT mice. Interestingly, the transcript levels of claudin and occludin, the major tight junction molecules of gut epithelial cells, were significantly decreased in NQO1-KO mice. The colons of NQO1-KO mice also showed high levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and histone deacetylase (HDAC) activity, which are known to affect transcriptional regulation. Taken together, these novel findings indicate that NQO1 contributes to the barrier function of gut epithelial cells by regulating the transcription of tight junction molecules.
Coprisin is a 43-mer defensin-like peptide from the dung beetle, Copris tripartitus. CopA3 (LLCIALRKK-NH2), a 9-mer peptide containing a single free cysteine residue at position 3 of its sequence, was derived from the ?-helical region of coprisin and exhibits potent antibacterial and anti-inflammatory activities. The single cysteine implies a tendency for dimerization; however, it remains unknown whether this cysteine residue is indispensible for CopA3s antimicrobial activity. To address this issue, in the present study we synthesized eight cysteine-substituted monomeric CopA3 analogs and two dimeric analogs, CopA3 (Dimer) and CopIK (Dimer), and evaluated their antimicrobial effects against bacteria and fungi, as well as their hemolytic activity toward human erythrocytes. Under physiological conditions, CopA3 (Mono) exhibits a 6/4 (monomer/dimer) molar ratio in HPLC area percent, indicating that its effects on bacterial strains likely reflect a CopA3 (Mono)/CopA3 (Dimer) mixture. We also report the identification of CopW, a new cysteine-free nonapeptide derived from CopA3 that has potent antimicrobial activity with virtually no hemolytic activity. Apparently, the cysteine residue in CopA3 is not essential for its antimicrobial function. Notably, CopW also exhibited significant synergistic activity with ampicillin and showed more potent antifungal activity than either wild-type coprisin or melittin.
In our previous study, coprisin, a 43-mer defensin-like peptide, was derived from the dung beetle, Copris tripartitus, and a 9-mer CopA3 (monomer), truncated coprisin analog peptide, was designed. However, the antifungal effects of CopA3 are not known yet. In this study, the antifungal activity and mechanism of CopA3 were investigated and to develop a more effective antimicrobial peptide under physiological conditions, the enantiomeric d-CopA3 was designed. l- and d-CopA3 had a similar antifungal activity without chiral selectivity, and their activity was more potent than that of melittin used as a positive control. Furthermore, l- and d-CopA3 did not even show any hemolysis against human erythrocytes. Membrane studies using propidium iodide and bis-(1,3-dibutylbarbituric acid) trimethine oxonol [DiBAC4(3)], suggested that the antifungal effect of l- and d-CopA3 was due to the membrane-active mechanism, by contrast with coprisin possessing apoptotic mechanism without membrane permeabilization. Finally, the proteolytic resistance and antifungal activity of l- and d-CopA3 against trypsin was analyzed by HPLC and colony count assay. The results showed that only d-CopA3 maintained a potent antifungal activity despite the proteolytic condition. Therefore, this study suggests that d-CopA3 has potential as a novel antimicrobial agent.
The anti-inflammatory effects of glycosaminoglycan (GAG) derived from Isaria sinclairii (IS) and of IS extracts were investigated in a complete Freunds adjuvant (CFA)-treated chronic arthritis rat model. Groups of rats were treated orally with 30 mg/kg one of the following:  saline control, extracts of  water-IS,  methanol-IS,  butanol-IS,  ethyl acetate-IS, or  Indomethacin® as the positive control for a period of two weeks. The anti-paw edema effects of the individual extracts were in the following order: water-IS ex. > methanol ex. > butanol ex. > ethyl acetate ex. The water/methanol extract from I. sinclairii remarkably inhibited UV-mediated upregulation of NF-?B activity in transfected HaCaT cells. GAG as a water-soluble alcohol precipitated fraction also produced a noticeable anti-edema effect. This GAG also inhibited the pro-inflammatory cytokine levels of prostaglandin E2-stimulated lipopolysaccharide in LAW 264.7 cells, cytokine TNF-? production in splenocytes, and atherogenesis cytokine levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) production in HUVEC cells in a dose-dependent manner. In the histological analysis, the LV dorsal root ganglion, including the articular cartilage, and linked to the paw-treated IS GAG, was repaired against CFA-induced cartilage destruction. Combined treatment with Indomethacin® (5 mg/kg) and IS GAG (10 mg/kg) also more effectively inhibited CFA-induced paw edema at 3 hr, 24 hr, and 48 hr to levels comparable to the anti-inflammatory drug, indomethacin. Thus, the IS GAG described here holds great promise as an anti-inflammatory drug in the future.
The centipede Scolopendra subpinipes mutilans is a medicinally important arthropod species. However, its transcriptome is not currently available and transcriptome analysis would be useful in providing insight into a molecular level approach. Hence, we performed de novo RNA sequencing of S. subpinipes mutilans using next-generation sequencing. We generated a novel peptide (scolopendrasin II) based on a SVM algorithm, and biochemically evaluated the in vitro antimicrobial activity of scolopendrasin II against various microbes. Scolopendrasin II showed antibacterial activities against gram-positive and -negative bacterial strains, including the yeast Candida albicans and antibiotic-resistant gram-negative bacteria, as determined by a radial diffusion assay and colony count assay without hemolytic activity. In addition, we confirmed that scolopendrasin II bound to the surface of bacteria through a specific interaction with lipoteichoic acid and a lipopolysaccharide, which was one of the bacterial cell-wall components. In conclusion, our results suggest that scolopendrasin II may be useful for developing peptide antibiotics.
We recently demonstrated that the antibacterial peptide, CopA3 (a D-type disulfide dimer peptide, LLCIALRKK), inhibits LPS-induced macrophage activation and also has anticancer activity in leukemia cells. Here, we examined whether CopA3 could affect neuronal cell proliferation. We found that CopA3 time-dependently increased cell proliferation by up to 31 ± 2% in human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells, and up to 29 ± 2% in neural stem cells isolated from neonatal mouse brains. In both cell types, CopA3 also significantly inhibited the apoptosis and viability losses caused by 6-hydroxy dopamine (a Parkinson disease-mimicking agent) and okadaic acid (an Alzheimers disease-mimicking agent). Immunoblotting revealed that the p27Kip1 protein (a negative regulator of cell cycle progression) was markedly degraded in CopA3-treated SH-SY5Y cells. Conversely, an adenovirus expressing p27Kip1 significantly inhibited the antiapoptotic effects of CopA3 against 6-hydroxy dopamine- and okadaic acid-induced apoptosis, and decreased the neurotropic effects of CopA3. These results collectively suggest that CopA3-mediated protein degradation of p27Kip1 may be the main mechanism through which CopA3 exerts neuroprotective and neurotropic effects.
The centipede Scolopendra subspinipes mutilans has been a medically important arthropod species by using it as a traditional medicine for the treatment of various diseases. In this study, we derived a novel lactoferricin B like peptide (LBLP) from the whole bodies of adult centipedes, S. s. mutilans, and investigated the antifungal effect of LBLP. LBLP exerted an antifungal and fungicidal activity without hemolysis. To investigate the antifungal mechanism of LBLP, a membrane study with propidium iodide was first conducted against Candida albicans. The result showed that LBLP caused fungal membrane permeabilization. The assays of the three dimensional flow cytometric contour plot and membrane potential further showed cell shrinkage and membrane depolarization by the membrane damage. Finally, we confirmed the membrane-active mechanism of LBLP by synthesizing model membranes, calcein and FITC-dextran loaded large unilamellar vesicles. These results showed that the antifungal effect of LBLP on membrane was due to the formation of pores with radii between 0.74nm and 1.4nm. In conclusion, this study suggests that LBLP exerts a potent antifungal activity by pore formation in the membrane, eventually leading to fungal cell death.
The antihypertensive effects of both extracts and glycosaminoglycan derived from Isaria sinclairii (IS) were investigated in a spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR) model. Groups of rats were treated orally with 30 mg/kg each of: (1) saline control or extracts of (2) water-IS (3) methanol-IS, (4) butanol-IS, (5) ethyl acetate-IS, or (6) captopril as positive control. The 30-mg/kg dose was administered with a standard diet every day for a period of 2 wk. The antihypertensive effects of the individual extracts were in the following order: methanol > water > ethyl acetate > butanol. Glycosaminoglycan (GAG) obtained from IS as a water-soluble alcohol precipitation fraction produced an antihypertensive effect. One month following administration of GAG derived from IS to SHR animals there was a marked decrease in systolic blood pressure from 183 to 105 mm Hg and reduced diastolic blood pressure from 148 to 80 mm Hg compared to untreated control SHR rats. It was found that GAG produced an antihypertensive effect, which was more effective than the positive control captopril. In the SHR animal model a fall of 19% in body weight was observed in the group that received GAG. Data thus indicate that GAG derived from I. sinclairii may be a potent, naturally occurring antihypertensive agent.
Harmoniasin is a defensin-like antimicrobial peptide identified from the ladybug Harmonia axyridis. Among the synthetic homodimer peptide analogues derived from harmoniasin, HaA4 has been found to have antibacterial activity without hemolytic activity. In this study, we investigated whether HaA4 has anticancer activity against human leukemia cell lines such as U937 and Jurkat cells. HaA4 manifested cytotoxicity and decreased the cell viability of U937 and Jurkat cells in MTS assay and LDH release assay. We found that HaA4 induced apoptotic and necrotic cell death of the leukemia cells using flow cytometric analysis, acridine orange/ethidium bromide staining and nucleosomal fragmentation of genomic DNA. Activation of caspase-7 and -9 and fragmentation of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase was detected in the HaA4-treated leukemia cells, suggesting induction of a caspase-dependent apoptosis pathway by HaA4. Caspase-dependent apoptosis was further confirmed by reversal of the HaA4-induced viability reduction by treatment of Z-VAD-FMK, a pan-caspase inhibitor. In conclusion, HaA4 caused necrosis and caspase-dependent apoptosis in both U937 and Jurkat leukemia cells, which suggests potential utility of HaA4 as a cancer therapeutic agent.
Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are naturally produced antibiotics that play important roles in host defense mechanisms. These proteins are found in variety of animal and plant species. The antibiotic effects of AMPs are gaining attention for use in human medicine. In this study, the antimicrobial effects of coprisin, a novel AMP isolated from the dung beetle (Copris tripartitus), were evaluated. The peptide was used to treat rats with wounds infected with Staphylococcus aureus. Coprisin accelerated wound closure both grossly and microscopically compared with the untreated group. Additionally, treatment with this peptide decreased phosphorylated-Smad2/3 (p-Smad2/3) levels, a downstream factor of the transforming growth factor-? signaling pathway which is believed to inhibit reepithelization, in the nucleus and cytoplasm of regenerating cells. Moreover, increased cell populations and angiogenesis were observed in lesions treated with coprisin, suggesting that this peptide promotes wound healing via its antimicrobial activity against S.?aureus. Our results demonstrated that coprisin is a potential therapeutic agent that can possibly replace traditional antibiotics and overcome microbial resistance.
Paecilomyces tenuipes reportedly have anticancer and immune activities, along with various other medicinal uses. Cultured products with P. tenuipes are certified for use in food in South Korea, and processed goods containing this fungus have been developed in many countries, particularly South Korea, Japan, and China. Research on mass production technology-procured raw materials for the manufacture of P. tenuipes is very important; however, cultures of the fungus have been unstable. This study identified stable cultivation conditions, focusing on growth inhibition and revitalization. Moisture regulation and preservation of pupae inoculated with P. tenuipes were used to control growth inhibition and revitalization. When inoculated silkworm pupae were dehydrated to 4% moisture and preserved freeze-dried or at -70 degrees C, -20 degrees C, or 4 degrees C, the mycelia in their bodies were able to survive for 14 d. Inoculated silkworm pupae were rehydrated for 3 h and the mycelia within their bodies were recovered at 94.3-96.3%. Silkworm pupae at 4% moisture were able to survive for 135 d at temperatures < 4 degrees C and for 1 y after freeze-drying. Optimal conditions for synnemata induction were 25 degrees C and 100-300 1x.
Papiliocin is a novel 37-residue cecropin-like peptide isolated recently from the swallowtail butterfly, Papilio xuthus. With the aim of identifying a potent antimicrobial peptide, we tested papiliocin in a variety of biological and biophysical assays, demonstrating that the peptide possesses very low cytotoxicity against mammalian cells and high bacterial cell selectivity, particularly against Gram-negative bacteria as well as high anti-inflammatory activity. Using LPS-stimulated macrophage RAW264.7 cells, we found that papiliocin exerted its anti-inflammatory activities by inhibiting nitric oxide (NO) production and secretion of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-? and macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-2, producing effects comparable with those of the antimicrobial peptide LL-37. We also showed that the innate defense response mechanisms engaged by papiliocin involve Toll-like receptor pathways that culminate in the nuclear translocation of NF-?B. Fluorescent dye leakage experiments showed that papiliocin targets the bacterial cell membrane. To understand structure-activity relationships, we determined the three-dimensional structure of papiliocin in 300 mm dodecylphosphocholine micelles by NMR spectroscopy, showing that papiliocin has an ?-helical structure from Lys(3) to Lys(21) and from Ala(25) to Val(36), linked by a hinge region. Interactions between the papiliocin and LPS studied using tryptophan blue-shift data, and saturation transfer difference-NMR experiments revealed that Trp(2) and Phe(5) at the N-terminal helix play an important role in attracting papiliocin to the cell membrane of Gram-negative bacteria. In conclusion, we have demonstrated that papiliocin is a potent peptide antibiotic with both anti-inflammatory and antibacterial activities, and we have laid the groundwork for future studies of its mechanism of action.
Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea and pseudomembranous colitis are typically treated with vancomycin or metronidazole, but recent increases in relapse incidence and the emergence of drug-resistant strains of C. difficile indicate the need for new antibiotics. We previously isolated coprisin, an antibacterial peptide from Copris tripartitus, a Korean dung beetle, and identified a nine-amino-acid peptide in the ?-helical region of it (LLCIALRKK) that had antimicrobial activity (J.-S. Hwang et al., Int. J. Pept., 2009, doi:10.1155/2009/136284). Here, we examined whether treatment with a coprisin analogue (a disulfide dimer of the nine peptides) prevented inflammation and mucosal damage in a mouse model of acute gut inflammation established by administration of antibiotics followed by C. difficile infection. In this model, coprisin treatment significantly ameliorated body weight decreases, improved the survival rate, and decreased mucosal damage and proinflammatory cytokine production. In contrast, the coprisin analogue had no apparent antibiotic activity against commensal bacteria, including Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, which are known to inhibit the colonization of C. difficile. The exposure of C. difficile to the coprisin analogue caused a marked increase in nuclear propidium iodide (PI) staining, indicating membrane damage; the staining levels were similar to those seen with bacteria treated with a positive control for membrane disruption (EDTA). In contrast, coprisin analogue treatment did not trigger increases in the nuclear PI staining of Bifidobacterium thermophilum. This observation suggests that the antibiotic activity of the coprisin analogue may occur through specific membrane disruption of C. difficile. Thus, these results indicate that the coprisin analogue may prove useful as a therapeutic agent for C. difficile infection-associated inflammatory diarrhea and pseudomembranous colitis.
To examine the expression profile of oxidative stress responsive genes in Spodoptera litura, we constructed a cDNA library from S. litura injected with hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2)). Using a microarray chip composed of 2,964 cDNAs, we screened gene expression at 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 h post H(2)O(2) injection. Data were clustered into 15 groups of genes that behave similarly across each time course. Seventy-three genes were identified as being at least twofold up- or downregulated after treatment with H(2)O(2) in S. litura. We constructed expressed sequence tags (ESTs) for genes that changed at least twofold after treatment with H(2)O(2) . The functional classification of these ESTs based on Gene Ontology showed that the ESTs are rich in genes involved in oxidoreductase activity (5.7%), defense (14.3%), cellular process (22.9%), and development (17.1%).
Gryllus bimaculatus (Gb) was orally administered at doses of 0, 0.04, 0.2, 1 and 5 g/kg bw/day for 13 consecutive weeks. There were no observed clinical signs or deaths related to treatment in all the groups tested. Therefore, the approximate lethal oral dose of G. bimaculatus was considered to be higher than 5 g/kg in rats. Throughout the administration period, no significant changes in diet consumption, ophthalmologic findings, organ weight, clinical pathology (hematology, clinical chemistry, coagulation, and urinalysis) or gross pathology were detected. Minor changes were found in hematological parameters for the 5 g/kg Gb-treated group (triglyceride reduction of 35.8%), but all changes were within normal physiological ranges. Microscopic examination did not identify any treatment-related histopathologic changes in the organs of Gb-treated rats in the high dose group. From these results, one can conclude that the no-observed adverse effect level (NOAEL) of G. bimaculatus is higher than 5 g/kg bw/day in rats.
Papiliocin is a 37-residue peptide isolated from the swallowtail butterfly Papilio xuthus. In this study, we found that Papiliocin induced the accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and hydroxyl radicals known to be important regulators of apoptosis in Candida albicans. To examine the relationship between the accumulation of ROS and the induction of apoptosis, we investigated the apoptotic effects of Papiliocin using apoptotic markers. Cells treated with Papiliocin showed a series of cellular changes normally seen in cells undergoing apoptosis: plasma membrane translocation of phosphatidylserine from the inner to the outer membrane leaflet, measured by Annexin V staining, dissipation of the mitochondrial membrane potential, observed by DiOC(6)(3) staining; and the presence of active metacaspases, measured using the CaspACE FITC-VAD-FMK, as early apoptotic events. In addition, DNA condensation and fragmentation, which is important marker of late stage apoptosis, was seen by DAPI and TUNEL assay. Therefore, these results suggest that Papiliocin leads to apoptosis in C. albicans via ROS accumulation.
Protaetiamycine is an insect defensin, derived from the larvae of the beetle Protaetia brevitarsis. In our previous work, we designed 9-mer peptide analogs of protaetiamycine, including 9Pbw2 (RLWLAIKRR-NH(2) ), 9Pbw3 (RLWLAIWRR-NH(2) ), and 9Pbw4 (RLWLAWKRR-NH(2) ). 9Pbw2 and 9Pbw4 showed high antimicrobial activity without cytotoxicity, while 9Pbw3 with higher hydrophobicity compared to 9Pbw2 and 9Pbw4 showed high cytotoxicity as well as high antimicrobial activity (Shin et al., J. Pept. Sci. 2009; 15: 559-568). In this study, we investigated the anti-inflammatory activities of 9Pbw2, 9Pbw3, and 9Pbw4 by quantitation of NO production in LPS-stimulated RAW264.7 cells. The results showed that only 9Pbw3 has strong inhibition of NO production, implying that Trp(7) as well as optimum level of hydrophobicity may play key roles in the anti-inflammatory activity of 9Pbw3. In order to design potent anti-inflammatory peptide with lower cytotoxicity as well as high stability from cleavage by protease compared to 9Pbw3, we synthesized 9Pbw3-D, the all-D-amino acid analog of 9Pbw3. 9Pbw3-D showed less cytotoxicity against RAW264.7 cells as well as considerably stronger inhibition of NO production and inflammation-induced cytokine production in LPS-stimulated RAW264.7 cells than 9Pbw3. 9Pbw3-D inhibited the gene expression of inflammatory-induced cytokine significantly more than 9Pbw3 and showed high resistance to proteolytic digestion. Binding of 9Pbw3-D with LPS caused higher enhancement of the FITC fluorescence as a result of its stronger interaction with LPS compared to that of 9Pbw3 and this result is in good agreement with their anti-inflammatory activities. 9Pbw3-D with higher anti-inflammatory activity as well as lower cytotoxicity against mammalian cell compared to 9Pbw3 can be a potent noncytotoxic antibiotic candidates.
Previously, the antimicrobial effects and membrane-active action of psacotheasin in Candida albicans were investigated. In this study, we have further found that a series of characteristic cellular changes of apoptosis in C. albicans can be induced by the accumulation of intracellular reactive oxygen species, specifically hydroxyl radicals, the well-known important regulators of apoptosis. Cells treated with psacotheasin showed diagnostic markers in yeast apoptosis at early stages: phosphatidylserine externalization from the inner to the outer membrane surface, visualized by Annexin V-staining; mitochondrial membrane depolarization, observed by DiOC6(3) staining; and increase of metacaspase activity, measured using the CaspACE FITC-VAD-FMK. Moreover, DNA fragmentation and condensation also revealed apoptotic phenomena at late stages through the TUNEL assay staining and DAPI staining, respectively. Taken together, our findings suggest that psacotheasin possess an antifungal property in C. albicans via apoptosis as another mode of action.
The molecular mechanisms underlying the glucose-lowering effects of Isaria sinclairii (Cicada Dongchunghacho), a fungus cultured on silkworm, are not fully elucidated. Thus the glucose-lowering effects of I. sinclairii as potential an antidiabetic agent were investigated in C57BL/6 obese (ob/ob) mice over a 6-mo period. For a period of 26 wk, ob mice were administered either 5 or 10% (w/w) I. sinclairii powder (IS), 10% dry mulberry leaf powder (ML), or 10% silkworm (SW) powder in the standard diet while a control group received only standard diet. The ML and SW preparations served as positive controls. Isaria sinclairii at 10% in the diet was more effective in reducing body weight compared to 10% ML, 10% SW, or 5% I. sinclairii. The fall in blood glucose levels in the groups treated for 26 wk was greater in both IS groups at 1 mo compared to ML or SW but equal in all groups at 6 mo. Microarray analyses were performed with a mouse 7.4K cDNA clone set array to identify the gene-expression profiles for the IS-, ML-, and SW-exposed ob mouse liver. The 10% IS group, compared to control, showed that 15 genes including glucokinase (Gk-rs1) and LDL receptor relating protein 1 were upregulated and 12 genes including cell translocation gene2 (antiproliferative) and hydroxyprostaglandin dehydrogenase (Hpgd 15) were downregulated. Upregulation of Gk-rs 1 and downregulation of Hpgd 15 were previously shown to occur in drug-induced suppression of diabetes. With ML, Lepr (leptin receptor), Pik3cb (phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase), and Prodh (proline dehydrogenase), related to suppression of diabetes, were upregulated. In the case of SW, the enzymes (G2an, alpha glucosidase 2) and Mmp9 (matrix metalloproteinase 9) involved in elevation of blood glucose levels were both downregulated. Data suggest that I. sinclarii is effective in lowering blood glucose due to the upregulation of glucokinase (Gk-rs1) and downregulation of hydroxyprostaglandin dehydrogenase (Hpgd 15), both associated with suppression of diabetes, indicating that microarray analysis is a useful tool to assess pharmacological potency of therapeutic compounds.
Previously, papiliocin was isolated from the swallowtail butterfly Papilio xuthus and its antimicrobial activity was suggested. In this study, the antifungal mechanism of papiliocin was investigated against Candida albicans. Confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) and 1,6-diphenyl-1,3,5-hexatriene (DPH) fluorescence analysis indicated that papiliocin disturbed the fungal plasma membrane. Moreover, the assessment of the release of FITC-dextran (FD) from liposome further demonstrated that the antifungal mechanism of papiliocin could have originated from the pore-forming action and that the radius of the pores was presumed to be anywhere from 2.3 nm and 3.3 nm.
Papiliocin is a 37-residue peptide isolated from the swallowtail butterfly Papilio xuthus. In this study, the antifungal effects and the mechanism of actions of papiliocin were investigated. First of all, papiliocin was shown to exert fungicidal activity. To understand the antifungal mechanism(s), propidium iodide influx into Candida albicans cells, induced by papiliocin, was examined. The result indicated that papiliocin perturbed and disrupted the fungal plasma membrane. Furthermore, calcein leakage from large unilamellar vesicles and rhodamine leakage from giant unilamellar vesicles further confirmed and visualized the membrane-disruptive action of papiliocin in the fungal model membrane, respectively. In summary, the present study suggests that papiliocin exerts its antifungal activity by a membrane-active mechanism and that this peptide can be developed into novel potent antifungal agents.
Psacotheasin is a 34-mer knottin-type peptide that is derived from Psacothea hilaris larvae. In this study, the antifungal activity and mechanism(s) by which psacotheasin affects human fungal pathogens were investigated. Psacotheasin shows remarkable antifungal properties without hemolytic activity against human erythrocytes. To understand the antifungal mechanism(s) of psacotheasin in Candida albicans, flow cytometric analysis with DiBAC(4)(3) and PI was conducted. The results showed that psacotheasin depolarized and perturbed the plasma membrane of the C. albicans. Three-dimensional (3D)-flow cytometric contour-plot analysis, accompanied by decreased forward scatter (FS), which indicates cell size, confirmed that psacotheasin exerted antifungal effects via membrane permeabilization. The membrane studies, using a single GUV and FITC-dextran (FD) loaded liposomes, indicate that psacotheasin acts as a pore-forming peptide in the model membrane of C. albicans and the radius of pores were presumed to be anywhere from 2.3 to 3.3nm. Therefore, the current study suggests that the mechanism(s) of psacotheasins antifungal properties function within the membrane.
Isaria sinclairii (Cicada Dongchunghacho) was studied as a potential crude natural food in powdered form. The role of tissue fatty acids in relation to the anti-obesity effects of I. sinclairii (IS) was examined by feeding the powder to SD rats ad libitum at 0, 1.25, 2.5, 5 and 10% (calculated about 8 g/kg) of the feed for a period of 3 months and 6 months. The fatty acid composition profile as indicated GC-MS, showed significantly slight dose-dependent increases in the levels of unsaturated fatty acids, particularly, arachidonic acid (C20: 4n6) , oleic acid, linoleic acid, eicosadienoic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) (C20: 5) concentration in the the ad libitum IS-fed groups compared to the control group in SD abdominal fat over 6 month period. Over viewing of the SD and Ob mice treated Isaria sinclairii powder; there were increases in the single (mono) unsaturated fatty acids ratio but decreases in polyunsaturated fatty acid. In IS-fed groups in proportion to the treatment period, this Dongchunghacho also induced an increase in the level of same result of unsaturated fatty acid in C57BL/6 obese (ob/ob) mice over a 6-month period treatment compared to those given 10% dry mulberry leaf powder (ML) or silkworm powder mixed with the standard diet.
We report the isolation and characterization of a novel knottin-type antimicrobial peptide from the yellow-spotted long-horned beetle Psacothea hilaris. A cDNA encoding a 56-mer knottin-type propeptide was identified and its predicted molecular mass and pI was 5.92 kDa and 8.28, respectively. A 34-mer mature peptide was also selected and named herein as psacotheasin. The antimicrobial activity of chemically synthesized psacotheasin against human bacterial pathogens was subsequently investigated. The results showed that psacotheasin exerted potent activities against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacterial strains. The present study suggests that psacotheasin can be applied to develop novel therapeutic agents.
Cecropin is a well-studied antimicrobial peptide that is synthesized in fat body cells and hemocytes of insects in response to hypodermic injury or bacterial infection. A 503 bp cDNA encoding for a cecropin-like peptide was isolated by employing annealing control primer (ACP)-based differential display PCR and 5-RACE with immunized Papilio xuthus larvae. The open reading frame of the isolated cDNA encoded for a 62-amino acid prepropeptide with a putative 22-residue signal peptide, a 2-residue propeptide, and a 38-residue mature peptide with a theoretical mass of 4060.89 Da. The deduced amino acid sequence of the peptide evidenced a significant degree of identity with other lepidopteran cecropins. This peptide was named papiliocin. RTPCR results revealed that the papiliocin transcript was detected at significant levels after injection with bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS). On the basis of the deduced amino acid sequence of papiliocin, a 38-mer mature peptide was chemically synthesized via the Fmoc method, and its antimicrobial activity was analyzed. The synthetic papiliocin peptide evidenced a broad spectrum of activity against fungi, Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, and also evidenced no hemolytic activity against human red blood cells.
The 15,338-bp long complete mitochondrial genome (mitogenome) of the Japanese oak silkmoth, Antheraea yamamai (Lepidoptera: Saturniidae) was determined. This genome has a gene arrangement identical to those of all other sequenced lepidopteran insects, but differs from the most common type, as the result of the movement of tRNA(Met) to a position 5-upstream of tRNA(Ile). No typical start codon of the A. yamamai COI gene is available. Instead, a tetranucleotide, TTAG, which is found at the beginning context of all sequenced lepidopteran insects was tentatively designated as the start codon for A. yamamai COI gene. Three of the 13 protein-coding genes (PCGs) harbor the incomplete termination codon, T or TA. All tRNAs formed stable stem-and-loop structures, with the exception of tRNA(Ser)(AGN), the DHU arm of which formed a simple loop as has been observed in many other metazoan mt tRNA(Ser)(AGN). The 334-bp long A + T-rich region is noteworthy in that it harbors tRNA-like structures, as has also been seen in the A + T-rich regions of other insect mitogenomes. Phylogenetic analyses of the available species of Bombycoidea, Pyraloidea, and Tortricidea bolstered the current morphology-based hypothesis that Bombycoidea and Pyraloidea are monophyletic (Obtectomera). As has been previously suggested, Bombycidae (Bombyx mori and B. mandarina) and Saturniidae (A. yamamai and Caligula boisduvalii) formed a reciprocal monophyletic group.
Previously, the 9-mer analog peptides, 9Pbw2 and 9Pbw4, were designed based on a defensin-like peptide, protaetiamycine isolated from Protaetia brevitarsis. In this study, antifungal effects of the analog peptides were investigated. The antifungal susceptibility testing exhibited that 9Pbw4 contained more potent antifungal activities than 9Pbw2. A PI influx assay confirmed the effects of the analog peptides and demonstrated that the peptides exerted their activity by a membrane-active mechanism, in an energy-independent manner. As the noteworthy potency of 9Pbw4, the mechanism(s) of 9Pbw4 were further investigated. The membrane studies, using rhodamine-labeled giant unilamellar vesicle (GUV) and fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-dextran loaded liposome, suggested that the membrane-active mechanism of 9Pbw4 could have originated from the poreforming action and the radii of pores was presumed to be anywhere from 1.8 nm to 3.3 nm. These results were confirmed by 3D-flow cytometric contour-plot analysis. The present study suggests a potential of 9Pbw4 as a novel antifungal peptide.
Protaetiamycine is an insect defensin, a naturally occurring 43-amino-acid-residue antimicrobial peptide derived from the larvae of the beetle Protaetia brevitarsis. In a previous work that aimed at developing short antibiotic peptides, we designed 9-mer peptide analogs of protaetiamycine. Among them, RLWLAIGRG-NH2 showed good antifungal activity against Candida albicans. In this study, we designed four 9-mer peptide analogs based on the sequence of RLWLAIGRG-NH2, in which Gly or Ile was substituted with Arg, Lys, or Trp to optimize the balance between the hydrophobicity and cationicity of the peptides and to increase bacterial cell selectivity. We measured their toxicity to bacteria and mammalian cells as well as their ability to permeabilize model phospholipid membranes. Substitution of Arg for Gly9 at the C-terminus (9Pbw1) resulted in two- to fourfold improvement in antibacterial activity. Further substitution of Gly7 with Lys (9Pbw2 and 9Pbw4) caused four- to eightfold improvement in the antibacterial activity without increase in cytotoxocity, while substitution of Gly7 with Trp (9Pbw3) increased cytotoxicity as well as antibacterial activity. The peptides 9Pbw2 and 9Pbw4 with the highest bacterial cell selectivity were not effective in depolarizing the membrane of Staphylococcus aureus cytoplasmic membranes and showed almost no leakage of a fluorescent dye entrapped within the vesicles. Gel-retardation experiments indicated that 9Pbw2 and 9Pbw4 inhibited the migration of DNA at concentrations >20 microM. Three positively charged residues at the C-terminus in 9Pbw2 and 9Pbw4 may facilitate effective penetration into the negatively charged phospholipid membrane of bacteria. The results obtained in this study suggest that the bactericidal action of our potent antibacterial peptides, namely 9Pbw2 and 9Pbw4, may be attributed to the inhibition of the functions of intracellular components after penetration of the bacterial cell membrane.
Transferrin (Tf) is a multifunctional, iron binding protein found in both vertebrates and invertebrates. Although transferrin has been suggested to play a role in innate immunity, its immunological function during infection has not been characterized. In this study, we identified and characterized Bombyx mori transferrin (BmTf). The promoter region of BmTf has numerous putative NF-kappaB binding sites, suggesting its possible function in innate immunity. Analysis of BmTf gene expression shows that it is highly inducible in response to a wide variety of pathogens including bacteria, fungus, and viruses. Recombinant BmTf protein produced in a baculovirus system exhibits iron binding capacity and antibacterial activity against various Gram-positive and -negative bacteria. Taken together, our results indicate that BmTf is an inducible immune effector molecule that may play an important role in pathogen clearance of insect innate immunity.
The antibacterial activity of immune-related peptides, identified by a differential gene expression analysis, was investigated to suggest novel antibacterial peptides. A cDNA encoding a defensin-like peptide, Coprisin, was isolated from bacteria-immunized dung beetle, Copris tripartitus, by using differential dot blot hybridization. Northern blot analysis showed that Coprisin mRNA was up-regulated from 4 hours after bacteria injection and its expression level was reached a peak at 16 hours. The deduced amino acid sequence of Coprisin was composed of 80 amino acids with a predicted molecular weight of 8.6 kDa and a pI of 8.7. The amino acid sequence of mature Coprisin was found to be 79.1% and 67.4% identical to those of defensin-like peptides of Anomala cuprea and Allomyrina dichotoma, respectively. We also investigated active sequences of Coprisin by using amino acid modification. The result showed that the 9-mer peptide, LLCIALRKK-NH(2), exhibited potent antibacterial activities against Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus.
Thirty-two different volatile oils were identified from Allomyrina dichotoma (A. dichotoma) larvae by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS). The major volatile components were 2,2,4-trimethyl-3-carboxyisopropyl pentanoic acid isobutyl ester (5.83%), phenol,2,6-bis(a,a-dimethyl ethyl)-4-(1-methyl-1-phenylethyl) (5.72%), heptacosane (5.49%) and phenol,2,4-bis(1-methyl-1-phenylethyl) (5.47%). The composition of the fatty acids in A. dichotoma larvae was also determined by gas chromatography (GC) and fourteen constituents were identified. Oleic acid (19.13%) was the most abundant fatty acid followed by palmitic acid (12.52%), palmitoleic acid (3.71%) and linoleic acid (2.08%) in 100 g of A. dichotoma larvae on a dry weight basis. The quantity of unsaturated fatty acids (64.00%) were higher than that of saturated ones (36.00%). The predominant fatty acids in A. dichotoma consist of monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA, 57.70%) such as oleic acid, myristoleic acid and palmitoleic acid, followed by saturated fatty acids (36.00%) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA, 6.50%). In particular, the presence of essential fatty acids, such as linoleic (5.30%) and linolenic acid (0.40%) give A. dichotoma larvae considerable nutritional and functional value and it may be a useful source for food and/or industrial utilization.
In this study, we prepared alcohol extracts of the larva, pupa, queen, and cocoon (clony) of B. ignitus, B. terrestris, and B. h. sapporoensis, and tested the anti-inflammatory activity of the extracts by using a rat model of adjuvant-induced edema. The extracts derived from the queen of B. ignitus, the queen of B. terrestris, and the cocoon of B. ignitus decreased hind paw edema after 1 day of i.p. administration. These extracts also induced vasorelaxation and NO production in calf pulmonary artery endothelial cells. These results suggest that bumblebee alcohol extracts has anti-inflammatory and vasorelaxant properties.
Previously, we demonstrated that the erythropoietin receptor (EpoR) is present on fibroblasts, where it regulates focal contact. Here, we assessed whether this action of EpoR is involved in the reduced cell adhesion observed in colonocytes exposed to Clostridium difficile toxin A. EpoR was present and functionally active in cells of the human colonic epithelial cell line HT29 and epithelial cells of human colon tissues. Toxin A significantly decreased activating phosphorylations of EpoR and its downstream signaling molecules JAK-2 (Janus kinase 2) and STAT5 (signal transducer and activator of transcription 5). In vitro kinase assays confirmed that toxin A inhibited JAK 2 kinase activity. Pharmacological inhibition of JAK2 (with AG490) abrogated activating phosphorylations of EpoR and also decreased focal contacts in association with inactivation of paxillin, an essential focal adhesion molecule. In addition, AG490 treatment significantly decreased expression of occludin (a tight junction molecule) and tight junction levels. Taken together, these data suggest that inhibition of JAK2 by toxin A in colonocytes causes inactivation of EpoR, thereby enhancing the inhibition of focal contact formation and loss of tight junctions known to be associated with the enzymatic activity of toxin A.
The novel 43-residue, insect defensin-like peptide coprisin, isolated from the dung beetle, Copris tripartitus, is a potent antibiotic with bacterial cell selectivity, exhibiting antimicrobial activities against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria without exerting hemolytic activity against human erythrocytes. Tests against Staphylococcus aureus using fluorescent dye leakage and depolarization measurements showed that coprisin targets the bacterial cell membrane. To understand structure-activity relationships, we determined the three-dimensional structure of coprisin in aqueous solution by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, which showed that coprisin has an amphipathic ?-helical structure from Ala(19) to Arg(28), and ?-sheets from Gly(31) to Gln(35) and Val(38) to Arg(42). Coprisin has electropositive regions formed by Arg(28), Lys(29), Lys(30), and Arg(42) and ITC results proved that coprisin and LPS have electrostatically driven interactions. Using measurements of nitric oxide release and inflammatory cytokine production, we provide the first verification of the anti-inflammatory activity and associated mechanism of an insect defensin, demonstrating that the anti-inflammatory actions of the defensin-like peptide, coprisin, are initiated by suppressing the binding of LPS to toll-like receptor 4, and subsequently inhibiting the phosphorylation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase and nuclear translocation of NF-kB. In conclusion, we have demonstrated that an amphipathic helix and an electropositive surface in coprisin may play important roles in its effective interaction with bacterial cell membranes and, ultimately, in its high antibacterial activity and potent anti-inflammatory activity. In addition to elucidating the antimicrobial action of coprisin, this work may provide insight into the mechanism of action of insect defense systems.
We compared the mRNA expression profile of the Harmonia axyridis larvae that were either untreated or treated with LPS. The extracted mRNAs were subjected to ACP RTPCR analysis using a combination of arbitrary primers and oligo (dT) primer. Among the 47 DEGs differentially expressed, we identified a cDNA showing homology with defensin-like antibacterial peptide. The cDNA showed a putative 32-residue signal sequence and a 50-residue mature peptide named harmoniasin. We also investigated the antibacterial activity of the harmoniasin analog, which exhibited potent antibacterial activities against Gramnegative and -positive bacteria strains and it also evidenced no hemolytic activity.
Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) exert antimicrobial activity against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, fungi, and viruses by various mechanisms. AMPs commonly possess particular characteristics by harboring cationic and amphipathic structures and binding to cell membranes, resulting in the leakage of essential cell contents by forming pores or disturbing lipid organization. These membrane disruptive mechanisms of AMPs are possible to explain according to the various structure forming pores in the membrane. Some AMPs inhibit DNA and/or RNA synthesis as well as apoptosis induction by reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulation and mitochondrial dysfunction. Specifically, mitochondria play a major role in the apoptotic pathway. During apoptosis induced by AMPs, cells undergo cytochrome c release, caspase activation, phosphatidylserine externalization, plasma or mitochondrial membrane depolarization, DNA and nuclei damage, cell shrinkage, apoptotic body formation, and membrane blebbing. Even AMPs, which have been reported to exert membrane-active mechanisms, induce apoptosis in yeast. These phenomena were also discovered in tumor cells treated with AMPs. The apoptosis mechanism of AMPs is available for various therapeutics such as antibiotics for antibiotic-resistant pathogens that resist to the membrane active mechanism, and antitumor agents with selectivity to tumor cells.
Coprisin is a 43-mer defensin-like peptide from the dung beetle, Copris tripartitus. In this study, we tested its minimum inhibitory concentration and performed combination assays to confirm the antibacterial susceptibility of coprisin and synergistic effects with antibiotics. The synergistic effects were evaluated by testing the effects of coprisin in combination with ampicillin, vancomycin, and chloramphenicol. The results showed that coprisin possessed antibacterial properties and had synergistic activities with the antibiotics. To understand the synergistic mechanism(s), we conducted hydroxyl radical assays. Coprisin alone and in combination with antibiotics generated hydroxyl radicals, which are highly reactive oxygen forms and the major property of bactericidal agents. Furthermore, the antibiofilm effect of coprisin alone and in combination with antibiotics was investigated. Biofilm formation is the source of many relentless and chronic bacterial infections. The results indicated that coprisin alone and in combination with antibiotics also had antibiofilm activity. Therefore, we conclude that coprisin has the potential to be used as a combinatorial therapeutic agent for the treatment of infectious diseases caused by bacteria.
We recently demonstrated that the insect peptide CopA3 (LLCIALRKK), a disulfide-linked dimeric peptide, exerts antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory activities in a mouse colitis model. Here, we examined whether CopA3 inhibited activation of macrophages by LPS. Exposure of an unseparated mouse peritoneal cell population or isolated peritoneal macrophages to LPS markedly increased secretion of IL-6 and TNF-?; these effects were significantly inhibited by CopA3 treatment. The inhibitory effect of CopA3 was also evident in murine macrophage cell line, RAW 264.7. Western blotting revealed that LPS-induced activation of STAT1 and STAT5 in macrophages was significantly inhibited by CopA3. Inhibition of JAK (STAT1/STAT5 kinase) with AG490 markedly reduced the production of IL-6 and TNF-? in macrophages. Collectively, these observations suggest that CopA3 inhibits macrophage activation by inhibiting activating phosphorylations of the transcription factors, STAT1 and STAT5, and blocking subsequent production of IL-6 and TNF-? and indicate that CopA3 may be useful as an immune-modulating agent.
Coprisin is a 43-mer defensin-like peptide from the dung beetle, Copris tripartitus. Here, we investigated the induction of apoptosis by coprisin in Candida albicans cells. Coprisin exerted antifungal and fungicidal activity without any hemolytic effect. Confocal microscopy indicated that coprisin accumulated in the nucleus of cells. The membrane studies, 1,6-diphenyl-1,3,5-hexatriene, calcein-leakage, and giant unilamellar vesicle assays, confirmed that coprisin did not disrupt the fungal plasma membrane at all. Moreover, the activity of coprisin was energy- and salt-dependent. Next, we investigated whether coprisin induced apoptosis in C. albicans. Annexin V-FITC staining and TUNEL assay showed that coprisin was involved with both the early and the late stages of apoptosis. Coprisin also increased the intracellular reactive oxygen species level, and hydroxyl radicals were included at high levels among the species. The effect of thiourea as a hydroxyl radical scavenger further confirmed the existence of the hydroxyl radicals. Furthermore, coprisin induced mitochondrial membrane potential dysfunction, cytochrome c release, and activation of metacaspases. In summary, this study suggests that coprisin could be a model molecule for a large family of novel antimicrobial peptides possessing apoptotic activity.
Recently, we reported that the synthetic Coprisin analog peptide 9-mer dimer CopA3 (consisted of all-L amino acid sequence) was designed based on a defensin-like peptide, Coprisin isolated from Copris tripartitus. The 9-mer dimer CopA3 (L-CopA3) had antibacterial activity and induced apoptosis in human leukemia cells via a caspase-independent pathway. In this study, all of amino acid sequences of L-CopA3 were modified to all D-form amino acids (D-CopA3) to develop a more effective antimicrobial peptide. We investigated whether D-CopA3 had antimicrobial activities against pathogenic microorganisms and proapoptotic effects in human leukemia cells (U937, Jurkat, and AML-2). The synthetic peptide D-CopA3 had antimicrobial activities against various pathogenic bacteria and yeast fungus with MIC values in the 4~64 microM range. Moreover, D-CopA3 caused cell growth inhibition, and increased the chromosomal DNA fragmentation and the expression of inflammatory cytokines, TNF-alpha and IL1-beta, transcripts in human leukemia cells. The all-D amino acid peptide D-CopA3 proved as effective as the L-CopA3 reported previously. These results provide the basis for developing D-CopA3 as a new antibiotic peptide.
Our previous study demonstrated that CopA3, a disulfide dimer of the coprisin peptide analogue (LLCIALRKK), has antibacterial activity. In this study, we assessed whether CopA3 caused cellular toxicity in various mammalian cell lines. CopA3 selectively caused a marked decrease in cell viability in Jurkat T, U937, and AML-2 cells (human leukemia cells), but was not cytotoxic to Caki or Hela cells. Fragmentation of DNA, a marker of apoptosis, was also confirmed in the leukemia cell lines, but not in the other cells. CopA3-induced apoptosis in leukemia cells was mediated by apoptosis inducing factor (AIF), indicating induction of a caspase-independent signaling pathway.
A synthetic coprisin analog peptide, 9-mer dimer CopA3 (CopA3) was designed based on a defensin-like peptide, Coprisin, isolated from the bacteria-immunized dung beetle Copris tripartitus. Here, CopA3 was investigated for its antimicrobial activity and cancer cell growth inhibition. CopA3 showed antimicrobial activities against various pathogenic bacteria and yeast fungus with MIC values in 2~32 ?M ranges, and inhibited the cell viabilities of pancreatic and hepatocellular cancer cells, except MIAPaca2, Hep3B, and HepG2 cells, in a dose-dependent manner. The average IC(50) values of CopA3 against pancreatic and hepatocellular cancer cells were 61.7 ?M and 67.8 ?M, respectively. The results indicate that CopA3 has potential in the treatments of pancreatic and hepatocellular cancers as well as microorganism infection disease.
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