Phage display selection can differentiate insecticidal activity of soybean cystatins. Academic Article uri icon


  • Plant cysteine proteinase inhibitors (phytocystatins) have been implicated as defensive molecules against Coleopteran and Hemipteran insect pests. Two soybean cystatins, soyacystatin N (scN) and soyacystatin L (scL), have 70% sequence identity but scN is a much more potent inhibitor of papain, vicilin peptidohydrolase and insect gut proteinases. When these cystatins were displayed on phage particles, papain-binding affinity and CPI activity of scN were substantially greater than those of scL, in direct correlation with their relative CPI activity as soluble recombinant proteins. Furthermore, scN substantially delayed cowpea weevil (Callosobruchus maculatus (F.)) growth and development in insect feeding bioassays, whereas scL was essentially inactive as an insecticide. Papain biopanning selection of phage-displayed soyacystatins resulted in a 200-1000-fold greater enrichment for scN relative to scL. These results establish that binding affinity of cystatins can be used in phage display biopanning procedures to select variants with greater insecticidal activity, illustrating the potential of phage display and biopanning selection for directed molecular evolution of biological activity of these plant defensive proteins.

published proceedings

  • Plant J

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Koiwa, H., Shade, R. E., Zhu-Salzman, K., Subramanian, L., Murdock, L. L., Nielsen, S. S., Bressan, R. A., & Hasegawa, P. M.

citation count

  • 70

complete list of authors

  • Koiwa, H||Shade, RE||Zhu-Salzman, K||Subramanian, L||Murdock, LL||Nielsen, SS||Bressan, RA||Hasegawa, PM

publication date

  • May 1998