Purification and characterization of tenecin 4, a new anti-Gram-negative bacterial peptide, from the beetleTenebrio molitor

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The biochemical characterization of novel antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) and the determination of ligand molecules that induce AMP production are essential for understanding the host innate immune response in insects. Here, we purified a new 14-kDa AMP, named tenecin 4, from the larval hemolymph of the beetle Tenebrio molitor. Tenecin 4 contains 14% glycine residues and has moderate similarities both to the C-terminal region of Drosophila attacin and to silk-moth gloverin proteins. Purified tenecin 4 showed bactericidal activity against Gram-negative Escherichia coli but not against Gram-positive Bacillus subtilis or the fungus Candida albicans. Tenecin 4 production was induced by Toll cascade-activating ligands, such as β-1,3-glucan, lysine-type peptidoglycan and active Spätzle, and by the probable Imd pathway-activating ligand monomeric meso-diaminopimelic acid-type peptidoglycan. Taken together, these data show that tenecin 4 is a defense protein against Gram-negative pathogens and is induced by multiple ligands in Tenebrio larvae.

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