Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Engineered spider toxin could be the future of anti-venom vaccines

Date:
May 9, 2013
Source:
Elsevier
Summary:
New engineered spider protein could be the start of a new generation of anti-venom vaccines, potentially saving thousands of lives worldwide. The new protein is created from parts of a toxin from the reaper spider

New engineered spider protein could be the start of a new generation of anti-venom vaccines, potentially saving thousands of lives worldwide. The new protein, created from parts of a toxin from the reaper spider, is described today in the Elsevier journal Vaccine.

The researchers behind the study, from the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais in Brazil, say that the engineered protein may be a promising candidate for developing therapeutic serums or vaccines against other venoms.

Reaper spiders, or brown spiders, are a family of species found all over the world that produce harmful venoms. The toxic bite of these spiders causes skin around the bite to die, and can lead to more serious effects like kidney failure and haemorrhaging. These Loxosceles spiders are most prevalent in Brazil, where they cause almost 7,000 human accidents every year.

The new study describes an engineered protein made of three pieces of a venom toxin from the Loxosceles intermedia spider. The engineered protein is not itself toxic, and gives effective protection against the effects of the pure spider venom in animal models.

"In Brazil we see thousands of cases of people being bitten by Loxosceles spiders, and the bites can have very serious side-effects," said Dr. Chávez-Olortegui, corresponding author of the study. "Existing anti-venoms are made of the pure toxins and can be harmful to people who take them. We wanted to develop a new way of protecting people from the effects of these spider bites, without having to suffer from side-effects."

Current approaches to protecting against venom involve giving the venom to animals, and taking the resulting antibodies for the serum. These antibodies enable the human immune system to prepare to neutralize venom from bites. Although they are somewhat effective, the production of anti-venoms like these is problematic because animals are required to produce them, and these animals suffer from the effects of the venom.

The new protein is engineered in the lab, without the need for the venomous animals. It is made up of three proteins, so it can protect against more than one kind of toxin at a time. The protein is not harmful to the immunized animal that produces the antibodies. It is also more effective than existing approaches, and easier to produce than preparing crude venom from spiders.

"It's not easy taking venom from a spider, a snake or any other kind of venomous animal," said Chávez-Olortegui. "With our new method, we would be able to engineer the proteins in the lab without having to isolate whole toxins from venom. This makes the whole process much safer."

The researchers tested their new protein on rabbits: all immunized animals showed an immune response similar to the way they respond to the whole toxin. The engineered protein was effective for venom of the L. intermedia and L. gaucho sub-species, which have similar toxins. Immunized rabbits were protected from skin damage at the site of venom injection, and from haemorrhaging.

This engineered protein may be a promising candidate for therapeutic serum development or vaccination in the future.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Elsevier. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. T.M. Mendes, D. Oliveira, L.F.M. Figueiredo, R.A. Machado-de-Avila, C.G. Duarte, C. Dias-Lopes, G. Guimarães, L. Felicori, J.C. Minozzo, C. Chávez-Olortegui. Generation and characterization of a recombinant chimeric protein (rCpLi) consisting of B-cell epitopes of a dermonecrotic protein from Loxosceles intermedia spider venom. Vaccine, 2013; DOI: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2013.03.048

Cite This Page:

Elsevier. "Engineered spider toxin could be the future of anti-venom vaccines." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130508213250.htm>.
Elsevier. (2013, May 9). Engineered spider toxin could be the future of anti-venom vaccines. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130508213250.htm
Elsevier. "Engineered spider toxin could be the future of anti-venom vaccines." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130508213250.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Great British Farmland Boom

The Great British Farmland Boom

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 17, 2014) — Britain's troubled Co-operative Group is preparing to cash in on nearly 18,000 acres of farmland in one of the biggest UK land sales in decades. As Ivor Bennett reports, the market timing couldn't be better, with farmland prices soaring over 270 percent in the last 10 years. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) — Crocodile farming has been a challenge in Zimbabwe in recent years do the economic collapse and the financial crisis. But as Ciara Sutton reports one of Europe's biggest suppliers of skins to the luxury market has come up with an unusual survival strategy - vegetarian food. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) — A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) — A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins