The jellyfishes are the most popular venomous marine animal, they are present in a large number of beaches and its toxicity may vary from mild symptoms to fatal poisoning to humans. Some compounds of biotechnological interest as antimicrobial, analgesic and anti-tumor activities have been found in extracts of jellyfish. Proteolytic enzymes have also been described, however, the characterization of these compounds is still not clear. Recently, our group started collaboration with scientists from the University of São Paulo and from Kings College, London, aiming the characterization of toxins from marine and terrestrial animals that share common ancestors for the biosynthesis of toxins. The group has characterized the proteomic profile of putative toxins of nematocysts isolated from four species of jellyfish, identifying the presence of proteases and phospholipases. In this project, we will use extracts of nematocysts from Olindias sambaquiensis, in order to examine the functional activity of the proteins identified by proteomics. For this purpose, extracts will be assayed for the presence of metalloproteinase, serine proteinase and phospholipase A2 activities, as well as for the presence of nematocyst components with anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic activities in cultured endothelial cells, fibroblasts and tumor cell lines.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: