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Asian-Australas J Anim Sci. 2017 Apr;30(4):576-584. doi: 10.5713/ajas.16.0207. Epub 2016 Jun 30.

Construction of Bacillus subtilis strain engineered for expression of porcine β-defensin-2/cecropin P1 fusion antimicrobial peptides and its growth-promoting effect and antimicrobial activity.

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Department of Biotechnology, College of Environmental and Chemical Engineering, Yanshan University, Qinhuangdao 066004, China.
Laboratory of Molecular Virology and Immunology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Agricultural University of Hebei, Hebei Engineering and Technology Research Center of Veterinary Biotechnology, Baoding 071000, China.



To generate recombinant Bacillus subtilis (B. subtilis) engineered for expression of porcine β-defensin-2 (pBD-2) and cecropin P1 (CP1) fusion antimicrobial peptide and investigate their anti-bacterial activity in vitro and their growth-promoting and disease resisting activity in vivo.


The pBD-2 and CP1 fused gene was synthesized using the main codons of B. subtilis and inserted into plasmid pMK4 vector to construct their expression vector. The fusion peptide-expressing B. subtilis was constructed by transformation with the vector. The expressed fusion peptide was detected with Western blot. The antimicrobial activity of the expressed fusion peptide and the recovered pBD-2 and CP1 by enterokinase digestion in vitro was analyzed by the bacterial growth-inhibitory activity assay. To analyze the engineered B. subtilis on growth promotion and disease resistance, the weaned piglets were fed with basic diet supplemented with the recombinant B. subtilis. Then the piglets were challenged by enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (E. coli). The weight gain and diarrhea incidence of piglets were measured after challenge.


The recombinant B. subtilis engineered for expression of pBD-2/CP1 fusion peptide was successfully constructed using the main codons of the B. subtilis. Both expressed pBD-2/CP1 fusion peptide and their individual peptides recovered from parental fusion peptide by enterokinase digestion possessed the antimicrobial activities to a variety of the bacteria, including gram-negative bacteria (E. coli, Salmonella typhimurium, and Haemophilus parasuis) and gram-positive bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus). Supplementing the engineered B. subtilis to the pig feed could significantly promote the piglet growth and reduced diarrhea incidence of the piglets.


The generated B. subtilis strain can efficiently express pBD-2/CP1 fusion antimicrobial peptide, the recovered pBD-2 and CP1 peptides possess potent antimicrobial activities to a variety of bacterial species in vitro. Supplementation of the engineered B. subtilis in pig feed obviously promote piglet growth and resistance to the colibacillosis.


Antimicrobial Activity; Cecropin P1; Engineered Bacillus subtilis; Piglets; Porcine β-defensin-2

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