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Expression and purification of the antimicrobial peptide GSL1 in bacteria for raising antibodies

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posted on 2023-05-03, 12:09 authored by Sathiyamoorthy Meiyalaghan, Julie Latimer, Andrew Kralicek, Martin Shaw, John Lewis, Tony ConnerTony Conner, Philippa Barrell
Background: The Gibberellin Stimulated-Like (GSL) or Snakin peptides from higher plants are cysteine-rich, with broad spectrum activity against a range of bacterial and fungal pathogens. To detect GSL peptides in applications such as western blot analysis and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA), specific antibodies that recognise GSL peptides are required. However, the intrinsic antimicrobial activity of these peptides is likely to prevent their expression alone in bacterial or yeast expression systems for subsequent antibody production in animal hosts. Results: To overcome this issue we developed an Escherichia coli expression strategy based on the expression of the GSL1 peptide as a His-tagged thioredoxin fusion protein. The DNA sequence for the mature GSL1 peptide from potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) was cloned into the pET-32a expression vector to produce a construct encoding N-terminally tagged his6-thioredoxin-GSL1. The fusion protein was overexpressed in E. coli to produce soluble non-toxic protein. The GSL1 fusion protein could be easily purified by using affinity chromatography to yield ~1.3 mg of his6-thioredoxin-GSL1 per L of culture. The fusion protein was then injected into rabbits for antibody production. Western blot analysis showed that the antibodies obtained from rabbit sera specifically recognised the GSL1 peptide that had been expressed in a wheat germ cell-free expression system. Conclusion: We present here the first report of a GSL1 peptide expressed as a fusion protein with thioredoxin that has resulted in milligram quantities of soluble protein to be produced. We have also demonstrated that a wheat germ system can be used to successfully express small quantities of GSL1 peptide useful as positive control in western blot analysis. To our knowledge this is the first report of antibodies being produced against GSL1 peptide. The antibodies will be useful for analysis of GSL1peptides in western blot, localization by immunohistochemistry (IHC) and quantitation by ELISA.


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© 2014 Meiyalaghan et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.


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BioMed Central Ltd.

Journal title

BMC Research Notes




Meiyalaghan, S., Latimer, J.M., Kralicek, A.V., Shaw, M.L., Lewis, J.G., Conner, A.J., & Barrell, P.J. (2014). Expression and purification of the antimicrobial peptide GSL1 in bacteria for raising antibodies. BMC Research Notes, 7, 777. doi: 10.1186/1756-0500-7-777

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