Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a major worldwide health problem which can cause acute and chronic hepatitis and can significantly increase the risk of liver cirrhosis and primary hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Nowadays, clinical therapies of HBV infection still mainly rely on nucleotide analogs and interferons, the usage of which is limited by drug-resistant mutation or side effects. Defensins had been reported to effectively inhibit the proliferation of bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses. Here, we screened the anti-HBV activity of 25 scorpion-derived peptides most recently characterized by our group. Through evaluating anti-HBV activity and cytotoxicity, we found that BmKDfsin4, a scorpion defensin with antibacterial and Kv1.3-blocking activities, has a comparable high inhibitory rate of both HBeAg and HBsAg in HepG2.2.15 culture medium and low cytotoxicity to HepG2.2.15. Then, our experimental results further showed that BmKDfsin4 can dose-dependently decrease the production of HBV DNA and HBV viral proteins in both culture medium and cell lysate. Interestingly, BmKDfsin4 exerted high serum stability. Together, this study indicates that the scorpion defensin BmKDfsin4 also has inhibitory activity against HBV replication along with its antibacterial and potassium ion channel Kv1.3-blocking activities, which shows that BmKDfsin4 is a uniquely multifunctional defensin molecule. Our work also provides a good molecule material which will be used to investigate the link or relationship of its antiviral, antibacterial and ion channel–modulating activities in the future.
- Antiviral peptide
- Scorpion defensin
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis