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Venom peptides found in terebrid snails expand the toolbox of active compounds that can be applied to investigate cellular physiology and can be further developed as future therapeutics. However, unlike other predatory organisms, such as snakes, terebrids produce very small quantities of venom, making it difficult to obtain sufficient amounts for biochemical characterization. Here, we describe the first recombinant expression and characterization of terebrid peptide, teretoxin Tgu6.1, from Terebra guttata. Tgu6.1 is a novel forty-four amino acid teretoxin peptide with a VI/VII cysteine framework (C–C–CC–C–C) similar to O, M and I conotoxin superfamilies. A ligation-independent cloning strategy with an ompT protease deficient strain of E. coli was employed to recombinantly produce Tgu6.1. Thioredoxin was introduced in the plasmid to combat disulfide folding and solubility issues. Specifically Histidine-6 tag and Ni-NTA affinity chromatography were applied as a purification method, and enterokinase was used as a specific cleavage protease to effectively produce high yields of folded Tgu6.1 without extra residues to the primary sequence. The recombinantly-expressed Tgu6.1 peptide was bioactive, displaying a paralytic effect when injected into a Nereis virens polychaete bioassay. The recombinant strategy described to express Tgu6.1 can be applied to produce high yields of other disulfide-rich peptides.


This article originally appeared in Toxins, available at DOI: 10.3390/toxins8030063

© 2016 by the authors. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons by Attribution (CC-BY) license (



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