Baode Sun, David Wibowo, Anton P.J. Middelberg, Chun-Xia Zhao*


The University of Queensland,
St Lucia, QLD 4072
Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology
Brisbane, QLD, Australia


Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are a kind of small peptides that play an important role in the immune systems among many species. They offer a promising alternative to antibiotics due to their broad-spectrum antimicrobial activities. However, a lack of cost-effective methods to produce AMPs in a large quantity has been one of the major obstacles to bring AMPs into clinical applications. In this work, we developed a simple, cost-effective downstream processing method to produce antimicrobial peptide pexiganan using an Escherichia coli (E. coli) recombinant expression system. Based on the unique structure of a carrier protein DAMP41,2, a large amount of pexiganan with high purity can be obtained after a series of selective precipitation steps3. The produced pexiganan showed similar antimicrobial activities compared to chemically synthesized pexiganan. We expect this novel downstream process could be extended to produce other AMPs, providing a novel route for simple and low-cost production of AMPs.


1. Middelberg AP, Dimitrijev‐Dwyer M. 2011. A designed biosurfactant protein for switchable foam control. Chemphyschem 12(8):1426-1429.

2. Zhao CX, Dwyer MD, Yu AL, Wu Y, Fang S, Middelberg AP. 2015. A simple and low‐cost platform technology for producing pexiganan antimicrobial peptide in E. coli. Biotechnol Bioeng 112(5):957-964.

3. Wibowo D, Yang GZ, Middelberg AP, Zhao CX. 2017. Non-chromatographic bioprocess engineering of a recombinant mineralizing protein for the synthesis of silica nanocapsules. Biotechnol Bioeng 114(2):335-343.




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