Chemosensory protein from the moth Mamestra brassicae

Expression and secondary structure from 1H and 15N NMR


  • Note: V. Campanacci and A. Mosbah contributed equally to this work.

M. Tegoni and H. Darbon, AFMB, UMR 6098-CNRS and Universités d'Aix-Marseille I and II, 31 chemin J. Aiguier, F-13402 Marseille Cedex 20, France. Fax: + 33 491 16 45 35, Tel.: + 33 491 16 45 12, E-mail:,


A group of ubiquitous small proteins (average 13 kDa) has been isolated from several sensory organs of a wide range of insect species. They are believed to be involved in chemical communication and perception (olfaction or taste) and have therefore been called chemo-sensory proteins (CSPs). Several CSPs have been identified in the antennae and proboscis of the moth Mamestra brassicae. We have expressed one of the antennal proteins (CSPMbraA6) in large quantities as a soluble recombinant protein in Escherichia coli periplasm. This 112-residue protein is a highly soluble monomer of 13 072 Da with a pI of 5.5. NMR data (1H and 15N) indicate that CSPMbraA6 is well folded and contains seven α helices (59 amino acids) and two short extended structures (12 amino acids) from positions 5 to 10 and from 107 to 112. Thirty-seven amino acids are involved in β turns and coiled segments and four amino acids are not assigned in the NMR spectra (the N-terminus and the residue 52 in the loop 48–53), probably due to their mobility. This is the first report on the expression and structural characterization of a recombinant CSP.