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Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 2007 Sep;37(9):960-8. Epub 2007 May 18.

Purification of a cysteine protease inhibitor from larval hemolymph of the tobacco hornworm (Manduca sexta) and functional expression of the recombinant protein.

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  • 1Laboratory of Food Molecular Functionality, College of Agriculture, Ibaraki University, 3-21-1 Chuo, Ami-machi, Inashiki-gun, Ibaraki 300-0393, Japan.


A cysteine protease inhibitor (CPI) with an apparent molecular mass of 11.5kDa was purified from larval hemolymph of the tobacco hornworm (Manduca sexta) by gel filtration on Sephadex G-50 followed by hydrophobic and ion-exchange column chromatographies. The purified cysteine proteinase inhibitor, denoted as MsCPI, strongly inhibited the plant cysteine protease, papain, with a K(i) value of 5.5 x 10(-9)M. Nucleotide sequence analysis of a partial cDNA encoding MsCPI indicated that MsCPI consists of 105 amino acid residues in a sequence that is similar to sarcocystatin A from Sarcophaga peregrina. However, northern blotting and PCR analyses using the specific primers of MsCPI suggested that the mRNA encoding MsCPI had a size of more than 12 kilobases, which included at least six tandemly repeated MsCPI segments. MsCPI was expressed in Escherichia coli and the recombinant protein effectively inhibited cysteine proteases from plants as well as from animals such as cathepsins B (K(i), 6.8 nM), H (3.0 nM), and L (0.87 nM). There was no inhibition exhibited toward trypsin, chymotrypsin, subtilisin, pepsin or themolysin.

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