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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 783971, 8 pages
Review Article

Recombinant Protein Production of Earthworm Lumbrokinase for Potential Antithrombotic Application

1Department of Natural Sciences, Northeastern State University, Broken Arrow, OK 74014, USA
2Laboratory of Comparative Neuroimmunology, Department of Neurobiology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA University of California Los Angles, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1763, USA
3Biotechnology Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100081, China

Received 26 August 2013; Revised 7 November 2013; Accepted 18 November 2013

Academic Editor: Ronald Sherman

Copyright © 2013 Kevin Yueju Wang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Earthworms have been used as a traditional medicine in China, Japan, and other Far East countries for thousands of years. Oral administration of dry earthworm powder is considered as a potent and effective supplement for supporting healthy blood circulation. Lumbrokinases are a group of enzymes that were isolated and purified from different species of earthworms. These enzymes are recognized as fibrinolytic agents that can be used to treat various conditions associated with thrombosis. Many lumbrokinase (LK) genes have been cloned and characterized. Advances in genetic technology have provided the ability to produce recombinant LK and have made it feasible to purify a single lumbrokinase enzyme for potential antithrombotic application. In this review, we focus on expression systems that can be used for lumbrokinase production. In particular, the advantages of using a transgenic plant system to produce edible lumbrokinase are described.