The recombinant proteins with strong antimicrobial activity are known to be very difficult to express using bacterial expression system. Here, human β-defensin (DEFB) 1, DEFB2, and DEFB3 were successfully produced using a silkworm-baculovirus protein expression system. We have generated four baculoviruses for each DEFB protein to compare the effect of different peptide tags in secretion into silkworm larval hemolymph. Interestingly, the best performing peptide tags for the secretion were different among DEFBs: C-terminal GST-H8 tag for DEFB1, N-terminal H8 tag for DEFB2, and C-terminal H8 tag for DEFB3, respectively. In addition, the colony count assay demonstrated that the recombinant DEFB2 s showed antimicrobial activities against Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Paenibacillus thiaminolyticus.
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