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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Novel antibacterial peptides isolated from a European bumblebee, Bombus pascuorum (Hymenoptera, Apoidea).

We present here the isolation and characterization of four antimicrobial peptides produced by a European bumblebee Bombus pascuorum. A 51-residue insect defensin was characterized which, like the Apis mellifera defensins, had a highly conserved 12-residue extension to its C-terminal compared to defensins from other insects. Monoisotopic mass analysis of the C-terminal of B. pascuorum defensin confirmed that this molecule was C-terminally amidated. This defensin showed strong anti-Gram-positive activity and some anti-fungal activity; also, in contrast to other insect defensins, it showed anti-Gram-negative activity. A 17-residue apidaecin was characterized, showing anti-Gram-negative activity, and differing by a single amino acid substitution from the A. mellifera apidaecin. A 39-residue abaecin was isolated, the largest proline-rich antimicrobial peptide characterized to date, which showed activity against both Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria. Finally, we isolated an N-terminally blocked molecule, with a molecular mass of 10,122 Da, which showed activity against Gram-negative bacteria only. These characteristics are reminiscent of hymenoptaecin from the honeybee A. mellifera, but a definitive characterization of this molecule awaits further work. No evidence of lysozyme activity was found in the haemolymph of challenged or naive B. pascuorum.[1]


  1. Novel antibacterial peptides isolated from a European bumblebee, Bombus pascuorum (Hymenoptera, Apoidea). Rees, J.A., Moniatte, M., Bulet, P. Insect Biochem. Mol. Biol. (1997) [Pubmed]
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