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Toxins 2017, 9(1), 22; doi:10.3390/toxins9010022

Bioactivity of Natural and Engineered Antimicrobial Peptides from Venom of the Scorpions Urodacus yaschenkoi and U. manicatus

1
Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology, Winchester Strasse 2, D-35394 Giessen, Germany
2
Institute for Insect Biotechnology, Justus Liebig University of Giessen, D-35392 Giessen, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Eivind Undheim
Received: 26 November 2016 / Revised: 26 December 2016 / Accepted: 29 December 2016 / Published: 6 January 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Venoms)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1593 KB, uploaded 6 January 2017]   |  

Abstract

The spread of multidrug-resistant human pathogens has drawn attention towards antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), which are major players in the innate immune systems of many organisms, including vertebrates, invertebrates, plants and microbes. Scorpion venom is an abundant source of novel and potent AMPs. Here, we investigated natural and engineered AMPs from the scorpions Urodacus yaschenkoi and U. manicatus to determine their antimicrobial spectra as well as their hemolytic/cytotoxic activity. None of the AMPs were active against fungi, but many of them were active at low concentrations (0.25–30 µM) against seven different bacteria. Hemolytic and cytotoxic activities were determined using pig erythrocytes and baby hamster kidney cells, respectively. The amino acid substitutions in the engineered AMPs did not inhibit cytotoxicity, but reduced hemolysis and therefore increased the therapeutic indices. The phylogenetic analysis of scorpion AMPs revealed they are closely related and the GXK motif is highly conserved. The engineered scorpion AMPs offer a promising alternative for the treatment of multidrug-resistant bacterial infections and could be modified further to reduce their hemolytic/cytotoxic activity. View Full-Text
Keywords: antimicrobial peptides; venom; hemolysis; therapeutic index; scorpions antimicrobial peptides; venom; hemolysis; therapeutic index; scorpions
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Luna-Ramirez, K.; Tonk, M.; Rahnamaeian, M.; Vilcinskas, A. Bioactivity of Natural and Engineered Antimicrobial Peptides from Venom of the Scorpions Urodacus yaschenkoi and U. manicatus. Toxins 2017, 9, 22.

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