Potent antimicrobial peptides from carrion beetles

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1R43AI079982-01A1
Agency Tracking Number: AI079982
Amount: $118,255.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2009
Solicitation Year: 2009
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: PHS2009-2
Small Business Information
DUNS: 178801671
HUBZone Owned: Y
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 () -
Business Contact
Phone: (859) 433-5293
Email: agoodin@paratechs.com
Research Institution
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 and 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 beetles 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 antimicrobial 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 antimicrobial 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.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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