Secapin, a bee venom peptide, exhibits anti-fibrinolytic, anti-elastolytic, and anti-microbial activities

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Bee venom contains a variety of peptide constituents that have various biological, toxicological, and pharmacological actions. However, the biological actions of secapin, a venom peptide in bee venom, remain largely unknown. Here, we provide the evidence that Asiatic honeybee (Apis cerana) secapin (AcSecapin-1) exhibits anti-fibrinolytic, anti-elastolytic, and anti-microbial activities. The recombinant mature AcSecapin-1 peptide was expressed in baculovirus-infected insect cells. AcSecapin-1 functions as a serine protease inhibitor-like peptide that has inhibitory effects against plasmin, elastases, microbial serine proteases, trypsin, and chymotrypsin. Consistent with these functions, AcSecapin-1 inhibited the plasmin-mediated degradation of fibrin to fibrin degradation products, thus indicating the role of AcSecapin-1 as an anti-fibrinolytic agent. AcSecapin-1 also inhibited both human neutrophil and porcine pancreatic elastases. Furthermore, AcSecapin-1 bound to bacterial and fungal surfaces and exhibited anti-microbial activity against fungi and gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. Taken together, our data demonstrated that the bee venom peptide secapin has multifunctional roles as an anti-fibrinolytic agent during fibrinolysis and an anti-microbial agent in the innate immune response.

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