Lucifensin, the long-sought antimicrobial factor of medicinal maggots of the blowfly Lucilia sericata

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2010 Feb;67(3):455-66. doi: 10.1007/s00018-009-0194-0. Epub 2009 Nov 18.


A novel homologue of insect defensin designated lucifensin (Lucilia defensin) was purified from the extracts of various tissues (gut, salivary glands, fat body, haemolymph) of green bottle fly (Lucilia sericata) larvae and from their excretions/secretions. The primary sequence of this peptide of 40 residues and three intramolecular disulfide bridges was determined by ESI-QTOF mass spectrometry and Edman degradation and is very similar to that of sapecin and other dipteran defensins. We assume that lucifensin is the key antimicrobial component that protects the maggots when they are exposed to the highly infectious environment of a wound during the medicinal process known as maggot therapy. We also believe that lucifensin is that long-sought larger molecular weight antimicrobial factor of the Lucilia sericata excretions/secretions believed to be effective against pathogenic elements of the wound microbial flora.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Anti-Infective Agents / chemistry*
  • Anti-Infective Agents / isolation & purification
  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacology
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Defensins / chemistry*
  • Defensins / isolation & purification
  • Defensins / pharmacology
  • Diptera / metabolism*
  • Larva / metabolism
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Wound Healing / drug effects


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Defensins