Novel Synthetic Anti-microbial Defensins Through Confrontational Selection And Screening Of Yeast Libraries | 33967
Journal of Biotechnology & Biomaterials
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Antibiotics are frequently used in animal feed to boost its efficacy. However, recent policies in EU and USA have restricted
such use of antibiotics and Canada is expected to follow suit. Consequently, the need for novel anti-microbial agents
is a most urgent issue. Defensins form a large group of secreted animal, plant or fungal peptides that kill a broad spectrum
of microorganisms including food borne pathogens. They have a low probability of developing microbial resistance and are
viewed as viable alternatives to antibiotics for both the food and pharmaceutical industries. The industrial development of
vertebrate defensins is hindered by concerns of cytotoxicity. In contrast, the known fungal defensins show little side effects in
animals and work at doses comparable to these of many antibiotics. We are developing a platform that will use DNA libraries
for a huge variety of synthetic defensin-like peptides. We are expressing these libraries in yeast and screen them against model
microorganisms. Our aim is to identify novel synthetic anti-microbial peptides that can be used as alternatives to antibiotics.
These agents can be improved to incorporate a trypsin-target site to ensure their normal degradation in the stomach and to
abolish any side effects on the normal microbiome of the animals. We also aim at the affordable production of such agents by
the yeast K. lactis in milk whey. Our progress in these screens will be reported and discussed.
K Yankulov is a Professor at the University of Guelph, Canada. His lab is using the yeast S. cerevisiae for research in several closely related areas of genetics, including the stability of extra-chromosomal DNA, protein expression and the design and screening of expression DNA library screening. This line of research has produced 33 publications on genes in influential genetics journals. He is an Editor in PLoS One, Frontiers in Genetics and Genes and Gene Therapy. Recently, he has pursued his interest on a group of novel fungal defense molecules (called defensins) and their commercial development as anti-microbial agents.