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Heterologous production of the insecticidal pea seed albumin PA1 protein by Pichia pastoris and protein engineering to potentiate aphicidal activity via fusion to snowdrop lectin Galanthus nivalis agglutinin; GNA)

De-Thier, Jake S.; Pyati, Prashant; Bell, Jack; Readshaw, Jennifer J.; Brown, Adrian P.; Fitches, Elaine C.

Heterologous production of the insecticidal pea seed albumin PA1 protein by Pichia pastoris and protein engineering to potentiate aphicidal activity via fusion to snowdrop lectin Galanthus nivalis agglutinin; GNA) Thumbnail


Authors

Jake S. De-Thier

Prashant Pyati

Dr Jack Bell jack.a.bell@durham.ac.uk
Post Doctoral Research Associate

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Jenny Readshaw jennifer.readshaw@durham.ac.uk
PGR Student Doctor of Philosophy



Abstract

Background
New bioinsecticides with novel modes of action are urgently needed to minimise the environmental and safety hazards associated with the use of synthetic chemical pesticides and to combat growing levels of pesticide resistance. The pea seed albumin PA1b knottin peptide is the only known proteinaceous inhibitor of insect vacuolar adenosine triphosphatase (V-ATPase) rotary proton pumps. Oral toxicity towards insect pests and an absence of activity towards mammals makes Pa1b an attractive candidate for development as a bioinsecticide. The purpose of this study was to investigate if Pichia pastoris could be used to express a functional PA1b peptide and if it’s insecticidal activity could be enhanced via engineering to produce a fusion protein comprising the pea albumin protein fused to the mannose-specific snowdrop lectin (Galanthus nivalis agglutinin; GNA).

Results
We report the production of a recombinant full-length pea albumin protein (designated PAF) and a fusion protein (PAF/GNA) comprised of PAF fused to the N-terminus of GNA in the yeast Pichia pastoris. PAF was orally toxic to pea (Acyrthosiphon pisum) and peach potato (Myzus persicae) aphids with respective, Day 5 LC50 values of 54 µM and 105 µM derived from dose–response assays. PAF/GNA was significantly more orally toxic as compared to PAF, with LC50 values tenfold (5 µM) and 3.3-fold (32 µM) lower for pea and peach potato aphids, respectively. By contrast, no phenotypic effects were observed for worker bumble bees (Bombus terristrus) fed PAF, GNA or PAF/GNA in acute toxicity assays. Confocal microscopy of pea aphid guts after pulse-chase feeding fluorescently labelled proteins provides evidence that enhanced efficacy of the fusion protein is attributable to localisation and retention of PAF/GNA to the gut epithelium. In contact assays the fusion protein was also found to be significantly more toxic towards A. pisum as compared to PAF, GNA or a combination of the two proteins.

Conclusions
Our results suggest that GNA mediated binding to V-type ATPase pumps acts to potentiate the oral and contact aphicidal activity of PAF. This work highlights potential for the future commercial development of plant protein-based bioinsecticides that offer enhanced target specificity as compared to chemical pesticides, and compatibility with integrated pest management strategies.

Citation

De-Thier, J. S., Pyati, P., Bell, J., Readshaw, J. J., Brown, A. P., & Fitches, E. C. (2023). Heterologous production of the insecticidal pea seed albumin PA1 protein by Pichia pastoris and protein engineering to potentiate aphicidal activity via fusion to snowdrop lectin Galanthus nivalis agglutinin; GNA). Microbial Cell Factories, 22(1), Article 157. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12934-023-02176-1

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 10, 2023
Online Publication Date Aug 17, 2023
Publication Date 2023
Deposit Date Aug 18, 2023
Publicly Available Date Aug 18, 2023
Journal Microbial Cell Factories
Publisher BioMed Central
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 22
Issue 1
Article Number 157
DOI https://doi.org/10.1186/s12934-023-02176-1
Public URL https://durham-repository.worktribe.com/output/1721476

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http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Copyright Statement
This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.





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