Heterologous expression of five disulfide-bonded insecticidal spider peptides

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Abstract

The genes of the five disulfide-bonded peptide toxins 1 and 2 (named Oxytoxins or Oxotoxins) from the spider Oxyopes lineatus were cloned into the expression vector pQE30 containing a 6His-tag and a Factor Xa proteolytic cleavage region. These two recombinant vectors were transfected into Escherichia coli BL21 cells and expressed under induction with isopropyl thiogalactoside (IPTG). The product of each gene was named HisrOxyTx1 or HisrOxyTx2, and the protein expression was ca 14 and 6 mg/L of culture medium, respectively. Either recombinant toxin HisrOxyTx1 or HisrOxyTx2 were found exclusively in inclusion bodies, which were solubilized using a chaotropic agent, and then, purified using affinity chromatography and reverse-phase HPLC (RP-HPLC). The HisrOxyTx1 and HisrOxyTx2 products, obtained from the affinity chromatographic step, showed several peptide fractions having the same molecular mass of 9913.1 and 8030.1 Da, respectively, indicating that both HisrOxyTx1 and HisrOxyTx2 were oxidized forming several distinct disulfide bridge arrangements. The isoforms of both HisrOxyTx1 and HisrOxyTx2 after DTT reduction eluted from the column as a single protein component of 9923 and 8040 Da, respectively. In vitro folding of either HisrOxyTx1 or HisrOxyTx2 yielded single oxidized components, which were cleaved independently by the proteolytic enzyme Factor Xa to give the recombinant peptides rOxyTx1 and rOxyTx2. The experimental molecular masses of rOxyTx1 and rOxyTx2 were 8059.0 and 6176.4 Da, respectively, which agree with their expected theoretical masses. The recombinant peptides rOxyTx1 and rOxyTx2 showed lower but comparable toxicity to the native toxins when injected into lepidopteran larvae; furthermore, rOxyTx1 was able to inhibit calcium ion currents on dorsal unpaired median (DUM) neurons from Periplaneta americana.

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