Next Article in Journal
Detection of Naja atra Cardiotoxin Using Adenosine-Based Molecular Beacon
Previous Article in Journal
High Uric Acid Ameliorates Indoxyl Sulfate-Induced Endothelial Dysfunction and Is Associated with Lower Mortality among Hemodialysis Patients
Article Menu
Issue 1 (January) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Toxins 2017, 9(1), 22;

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

Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology, Winchester Strasse 2, D-35394 Giessen, Germany
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)
Full-Text   |   PDF [1593 KB, uploaded 6 January 2017]   |  


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

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Supplementary material


Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

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.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Toxins EISSN 2072-6651 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top