Venom of these South American wasps, Polybia paulista, has been repurposed to an antibiotic drug. Image: Wikimedia, Charles J Sharp
Antimicrobial peptide engineered on the basis of wasp venom - health short science news

In the quest for treatment options for antibiotic-resistant bacteria infections, scientists have repurposed the venom of South American wasps, normally toxic, to selectively kill bacteria while leaving body cells intact.

The antimicrobial peptide was isolated and further biochemically optimized to keep its bacteria-fighting capacities while eliminating toxicity. The synthesized peptide was shown to affect human cells in culture, and could completely clear a Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection in mice.

Thus, optimizing naturally occurring antimicrobial peptides is a promising way to develop new antibiotic drugs.

Read the full story: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Scientific publication: Nature Communications Biology


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