Interleukin 2 promoter/enhancer controlled expression of a synthetic cecropinclass lytic peptide in transgenic mice and subsequent resistance to Brucella abortus

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Transgenic Research



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The addition of an antimicrobial that can be synthesized by the mammalian immune system at the point of challenge may enhance disease resistance. A possible group of agents are cecropins, broad-spectrum antimicrobial peptides, which have been described and characterized. They are relatively non-toxic to normal cells from multicellular organisms but are toxic to a wide range of bacteria, protozoa and fungi, as well as infected and abnormal cells. Twenty-six lines of transgenic mice were produced by pronuclear injection of DNA consisting of the 5′-flanking region from −593 to +110 of the mouse interleukin 2 (IL-2) gene, Shiva 1a (a synthetic cecropin-class lytic peptide), and the SV40 polyadenylation/splice signal. A reverse-transcription PCR assay determined that two lines of transgenic mice were produced whose spleen-derived lymphocytes could be induced to transcribe and mature mRNA for Shiva 1a by exposure to 3.25 mg ml−1 of Con A. Two lines were challenged with an inoculation of 5 × 104 Brucella abortus strain 2308. After four weeks, there were significantly fewer B. abortus organisms in the spleens of transgenic mice than in non-transgenic control mice of the same strain (p < 0.05). Since the controlling regions of the IL-2 enhancer and the amino acid sequence of the signal peptide are highly conserved among several species, it is likely that this recombinant gene will function in other mammals.