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In Scientific reports ; h5-index 158.0

Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) play a key role in the innate immunity, the first line of defense against bacteria, fungi, and viruses. AMPs are small molecules, ranging from 10 to 100 amino acid residues produced by all living organisms. Because of their wide biodiversity, insects are among the richest and most innovative sources for AMPs. In particular, the insect Hermetia illucens (Diptera: Stratiomyidae) shows an extraordinary ability to live in hostile environments, as it feeds on decaying substrates, which are rich in microbial colonies, and is one of the most promising sources for AMPs. The larvae and the combined adult male and female H. illucens transcriptomes were examined, and all the sequences, putatively encoding AMPs, were analysed with different machine learning-algorithms, such as the Support Vector Machine, the Discriminant Analysis, the Artificial Neural Network, and the Random Forest available on the CAMP database, in order to predict their antimicrobial activity. Moreover, the iACP tool, the AVPpred, and the Antifp servers were used to predict the anticancer, the antiviral, and the antifungal activities, respectively. The related physicochemical properties were evaluated with the Antimicrobial Peptide Database Calculator and Predictor. These analyses allowed to identify 57 putatively active peptides suitable for subsequent experimental validation studies.

Moretta Antonio, Salvia Rosanna, Scieuzo Carmen, Di Somma Angela, Vogel Heiko, Pucci Pietro, Sgambato Alessandro, Wolff Michael, Falabella Patrizia