Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Vol.102, No.11, 4817-4827, 2018
Secretion expression of human neutrophil peptide 1 (HNP1) in Pichia pastoris and its functional analysis against antibiotic-resistant Helicobacter pylori
Human neutrophil peptide 1 (HNP1) is a small (3.44 kDa) cationic peptide that is a distinct member of the defensin family. HNP1 plays a crucial role in controlling bacterial infections, particularly by antibiotic-resistant bacteria, through membrane perforation patterns. The structural characteristics of HNP1's three intramolecular disulfide bridges cause difficulty in its synthesis via chemical methods. In this study, bioactive recombinant HNP1 was produced using the Pichia pastoris (P. Pichia) expression system. HNP1 was fused with the polyhedrin of Bombyx mori and enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) to prevent HNP1 toxicity in yeast host cells under direct expression. An enterokinase protease cleavage site (amino acid sequence DDDDK) was designed upstream of the HNP1 peptide to obtain the antibacterial peptide HNP1 with native structure after it was cleaved by the enterokinase. The fusion HNP1 protein (FHNP1) was successfully expressed and had a molecular mass of approximately 62.6 kDa, as determined using SDS-PAGE and Western blot. Then, the recovered FHNP1 was digested and purified; Tricine-SDS-PAGE results showed that HNP1 was successfully released from FHNP1. Functional analysis of induction against antibiotic-resistant Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) showed that it was challenging for HNP1 to acquire resistance to the antibiotic-resistant H. pylori. Moreover, in vitro studies showed that HNP1 exerted a strong effect against antibiotic-resistant H. pylori activity. Furthermore, the animal model of H. pylori infection established in vivo showed that HNP1 significantly reduced the colonization of antibiotic-resistant H. pylori in the stomach. Our study indicated that this could be a new potential avenue for large-scale production of HNP1 for therapeutic application against the antibiotic-resistant H. pylori infection in humans.