Mastoparan B (MP-B) is a cationic tetradecapeptide isolated from the black-bellied hornet (Vespa basalis) venom. It has a primary structure (LKLKSIVSWAKKVL-CONH2,) distinct from other vespine mastoparans. The peptide caused a dose-dependent swelling in rat hind paw and showed a potent hemolytic activity in guinea pig red blood cells. Studies on the structure activity relationship of the peptide showed that replacing lysine at position 2 (Lys2) by asparagine (Asn) in the MP-B sequence caused about 40% decrease in its edema-inducing activity at 50 μg/paw and 90% decrease in hemolytic activity at 30 μM of the peptide, while the same substitution at Lys4 did not cause a significant change in either activity. Replacing either Lys11 or Lys12 by leucine (Leu) caused little or no decrease in the edema-inducing and hemolytic activities. Decreases in both activities were observed when both Lys11 and Lys12 were replaced by Leu. On the other hand, replacing tryptophan at position 9 (Trp9 by tyrosine or phenylalanine in MP-B sequence almost abolished its hemolytic activity, while the edema-inducing activity was only partially inhibited. Circular dichroism spectra of the peptides measured in 20% trifluoro- ethanol revealed that substitution of Lys and Trp did not cause a significant change in the conformation of MP-B. It appears that Lys2 is crucial for both hemolytic and edema-inducing activities of MP-B, while Trp9 is of special importance to the hemolytic activity of MP-B. Lys11 and Lys12 in MP-B probably play a lesser role in both activities.
ASJC Scopus subject areas