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xx, No. xx, 2013; Pages: xxx - xxx

Top-down sequencing of Apis dorsata apamin by MALDI-TOF MS and evidence of its inactivity against microorganisms

D. Baracchi, G. Mazza, E. Michelucci, G. Pieraccini, S. Turillazzi, G. Moneti

Department of Biologia Evoluzionistica “Leo Pardi”, University of Firenze, Via Romana 17, 50125 Firenze, Italy.


Apis mellifera venom is one of the best characterized venoms among Hymenoptera, yet relatively little is known about venom belonging to other species in the genus Apis. Melittin, one of the most important bioactive peptides, has been isolated and characterized in A. melliferaApis ceranaApis dorsata andApisflorea, while apamin has been only characterized in A. mellifera and A. cerana. At present, no information is available about the sequence of A. dorsata apamin. Moreover, while the antiseptic properties of melittin and MCD peptides are well documented, the antimicrobial activity of apamin has never been tested. In the present study, we isolated and characterized apamin from the venom of the giant honeybee A. dorsata. We tested the activity of apamin against bacteria and yeasts in a microbiological assay to gain a more complete understanding of the antimicrobial competence of the medium molecular weight venom fraction. We show that A. dorsata apamin toxin has the same primary sequence as apamin in A. melliferaand A. cerana, yet with a different C-terminal amidation. We did not find any antiseptic activity of apamin against any of the tested microorganisms. We discuss the evolutionary processes connected to the ecological context of venom use that drove the generation of Apis venom complexity.

Keywords: MALDI-TOF; Venom; Honeybee; Antimicrobial peptides; Peptide sequencing



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