We purified a novel antibacterial substance from immunized adult Sarcophaga and determined its molecular structure to be N-β-alanyl-5-S-glutathionyl-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (5-S-GAD). We synthesized 5-S-GAD enzymatically from N-β-alanyl-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (β-Ala-Dopa) and reduced glutathione (GSH). The antibacterial activity of 5-S-GAD was found to be due to its production of H2O2. This is a novel antibacterial mechanism as it differs from the mechanisms of known antibacterial peptides. Two possible roles of 5-S-GAD in insect immunity, suppression of bacterial growth and activation of a Rel family transcription factor, are proposed.
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