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Comp Biochem Physiol B Biochem Mol Biol. 2014 Jan;167:59-64. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpb.2013.10.002. Epub 2013 Oct 21.

A bumblebee (Bombus ignitus) venom serine protease inhibitor that acts as a microbial serine protease inhibitor.

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College of Natural Resources and Life Science, Dong-A University, Busan 604-714, Republic of Korea.


Serine protease inhibitors from bumblebee venom have been shown to block plasmin activity. In this study, we identified the protein BiVSPI from the venom of Bombus ignitus to be a serine protease inhibitor and an antimicrobial factor. BiVSPI is a 55-amino acid mature peptide with ten conserved cysteine residues and a P1 methionine residue. BiVSPI is expressed in the venom gland and also found in the venom as an 8-kDa peptide. Recombinant BiVSPI that was expressed in baculovirus-infected insect cells exhibited inhibitory activity against chymotrypsin but not trypsin. BiVSPI also inhibited microbial serine proteases, such as subtilisin A (Ki=6.57nM) and proteinase K (Ki=7.11nM). In addition, BiVSPI was shown to bind directly to Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus thuringiensis, and Beauveria bassiana but not to Escherichia coli. Consistent with these results, BiVSPI exhibited antimicrobial activity against Gram-positive bacteria and fungi. These findings provide evidence for a novel serine protease inhibitor in bumblebee venom that has antimicrobial functions.


Antimicrobial activity; Bombus ignitus; Bumblebee; Serine protease inhibitor; Venom

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