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Potent antimicrobial peptides from carrion beetles

Award Information

Department of Health and Human Services
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2009 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
1122 Oak Hill Dr. LEXINGTON, KY -
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2009
Title: Potent antimicrobial peptides from carrion beetles
Agency: HHS
Contract: 1R43AI079982-01A1
Award Amount: $118,255.00


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Antibiotic resistant pathogenic microbes are responsible for thousands of human fatalities worldwide each year. The heightening risk of emerging pathogen resistance in clinical settings promotes the need for discovery a nd development of new antibiotics with a high degree of activity, potency, and specificity. ParaTechs Corporation has identified proteinaceous antimicrobial components in the anal and oral secretions of carrion beetles from the family Silphidae. These beet les reproduce by processing and/or burying carrion from vertebrate carcasses upon which they lay their eggs and rear their young. Preservation of the carcass is accomplished through constant covering of the carrion with substances aggressively secreted by the beetles. Carrion treated by the beetles in this manner has shown little evidence of microbial decay over extended periods of time. Here we demonstrate that potent antimicrobial activity is present in proteinaceous secretions from three Silphid species: Nicrophorus marginatus, Nicrophorus tomentosus, and Silpha (recently revised to Necrophila) americana. Our data demonstrate that proteins within the secretions have varying degrees of potency, specificity, and activity against bacterial growth suggesting that different antimicrobial components of the secretions may be acting synergistically preventing bacterial decomposition of the carrion. In this Phase I NIH:SBIR proposal we seek funding for the genetic and functional characterization of the potent antim icrobial components discovered in the oral and anal secretions of N. marginatus and S. americana for utilization as novel model antimicrobial molecules for clinical testing and biopharmaceutical applications. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: The rapidly increasing microbial resistance to antibiotics in clinical settings is one of the world's most pressing public health concerns. The progressive emergence of new resistant pathogenic bacterial strains demands that efforts be undertaken to seek novel powerful antimicr obial agents that are effective against antibiotic resistant pathogen strains. The potent antimicrobial peptides to be isolated from carrion beetles and characterized with this award possess significant potential utility as novel biopharmaceuticals and may serve as functional models for the development of new and powerful antimicrobial drugs and human therapeutics.

Principal Investigator:

Angelika Fathgoodin

Business Contact:

Goodin F. Angelika
Small Business Information at Submission:


EIN/Tax ID: 200165721
Number of Employees: N/A
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No