Antimicrobial peptides in the centipede Scolopendra subspinipes mutilans


The centipede Scolopendra subspinipes mutilans is an environmentally beneficial and medically important arthropod species. Although this species is increasingly applied as a reliable source of new antimicrobial peptides, the transcriptome of this species is a prerequisite for more rational selection of antimicrobial peptides. In this report, we isolated total RNA from the whole body of adult centipedes, S. subspinipes mutilans, that were nonimmunized and immunized against Escherichia coli, and we generated a total of 77,063 pooled contigs and singletons using high-throughput sequencing. To screen putative antimicrobial peptides, in silico analyses of the S. subspinipes mutilans transcriptome were performed based on the physicochemical evidence of length, charge, isoelectric point, and in vitro and in vivo aggregation scores together with the existence of continuous antimicrobial peptide stretches. Moreover, we excluded some transcripts that showed similarity with both previously known antimicrobial peptides and the human proteome, had a proteolytic cleavage site, and had downregulated expression compared with the nonimmunized sample. As a result, we selected 17 transcripts and tested their antimicrobial activity with a radial diffusion assay. Among them, ten synthetic peptides experimentally showed antimicrobial activity against microbes and no toxicity to mouse erythrocytes. Our results provide not only a useful set of antimicrobial peptide candidates and an efficient strategy for novel antimicrobial peptide development but also the transcriptome data of a big centipede as a valuable resource.

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This work was supported by a grant from the Next-Generation BioGreen 21 Program (no. PJ008158, PJ008196), Rural Development Administration, Republic of Korea.

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Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Junhyung Park or Jae Sam Hwang.

Additional information

Won Gi Yoo and Joon Ha Lee equally contributed to this paper.

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Yoo, W.G., Lee, J.H., Shin, Y. et al. Antimicrobial peptides in the centipede Scolopendra subspinipes mutilans . Funct Integr Genomics 14, 275–283 (2014).

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  • RNA-seq
  • Physicochemical properties
  • Antimicrobial peptide
  • Scolopendra subspinipes mutilans