ATLANTA (April 29, 2004) -- A Center for Behavioral Neuroscience research team led by Georgia State University biologist Charles Derby has identified the genetic sequence of an anti-microbial protein called Escapin found in the ink of the common Aplysia sea slug or hare. The finding could have implications for the development of new anti-bacterial industrial compounds to prevent the formation of damaging biofilms on marine materials such as ship hulls, fishing traps and nets.
When encountering predators, sea slugs discharge a purple ink containing Escapin which chemically resembles toxins of some venomous snakes. Among its properties, the protein causes foreign cells to lyse or explode and prevents bacteria from growing on sea hares.
Derby, whose team has sequenced, cloned and expressed Escapin, believes a natural or synthetic form of the protein could be manufactured for the marine industry as an environmentally friendly alternative to toxic heavy metals, such as copper, normally applied on materials to prevent biofilm development. Biofilm formation is the precursor to the growth of barnacles and other damaging organisms that must be removed through costly and time-consuming processes.
Derby, who has filed a provisional patent for Escapin's genetic sequence, plans to submit an academic paper for publication on the protein within the next several months. His research team includes former doctorate student and postdoctoral researcher Paul Johnson, GSU researchers Hsiuchin Yang, Phang Tai and Cynthia Kicklighter.
Page: 1 Related biology news :1
Contact: Poul Olson
Emory University Health Sciences Center
. Genetic mutations linked to the practice of burning coal in homes in China2
. Genetic differences might help distinguish thyroid cancers3
. Genetic modification of linseed produces healthier omega 3 and 6 fatty acids4
. Wiley publishes Welcome to the Genome: A Users Guide to the Genetic Past, Present, and Future5
. Genetically modified bacterium as remedy for intestinal diseases6
. Genetic analysis rewrites salamanders evolutionary history7
. Genetic map of important tree genes outlined8
. Genetically-engineered marathon mouse keeps on running9
. Genetic clues found for common congenital brain disorder10
. Genetic mutation linked to more aggressive breast cancer found more often in African-Americans11
. Genetic discovery could dramatically reduce need for liver transplants in children