Production of Biologically Active Cecropin A Peptide in Rice Seed Oil Bodies

Once a new, naturally-occuring antimicrobial is found, it needs to be easy to produce in order for it to be medically useful. Cecropin A is a broad-spectrum antibiotic and antifungal peptide originally isolated from insect haemolymph. In this paper, Montesinos et al. developed a more-abundant production method for this antimicrobial peptide with rice seeds. Since organisms are already creating their own peptides, researchers can "piggy-back" on that process to produce desirable antimicrobial peptides. In this case, the rice seeds were genetically modified with the gene to create Cecropin A fused to an existing rice peptide Ole18. The rice seeds produced this fusion-peptide, and then it was extracted from the seed. The Ole18-CecA fusion protein was separated by proteolytic digestion. It was estimated that 6ug of CecA can be recovered per gram of rice seeds.

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