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Bioactive peptides from aquatic Portuguese amphibians

Grant number: 19/27661-3
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): February 01, 2021
Effective date (End): December 31, 2022
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Chemistry - Organic Chemistry
Cooperation agreement: Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT)
Principal researcher:Massuo Jorge Kato
Grantee:Abdelaaty Hamed Abdelaaty Mona
Home Institution: Instituto de Química (IQ). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:18/07999-7 - VIDA-FROG: valorization of molecules isolated from aquatic Portuguese amphibians, AP.R


In this project we will uncover the potential of molecules which form part of the innate immune response from Portuguese amphibians. This will increase knowledge of the value of Portuguese biodiversity, as well as tackling three major health problems. We will isolate new Antimicrobial Peptides (AMPs) from two amphibian species native to Portugal. Amphibian secretions are a rich source of diverse AMPs, however the targeted species have not, until now, had their secretions studied. We will test the activity of the peptides against model and pathogenic bacteria and biofilms. We will also assess the potential for synergy with conventional antibiotics which can reduce side effects, cost and increase effectiveness, especially against antibiotic-resistant strains. In addition, we will target the vectors of cutaneous Leishmania, a disease typically affecting people in undeveloped countries. We will also study the synergism between the Portuguese peptides, and analogues of piplartine, a natural amide isolated from Piper species, which has recently been shown by our Brazilian collaborators to be effective against leishmania. In addition, the action of the effective molecules will be characterised with a range of microscopic and biophysical techniques to provide understanding of their modes of actions. These biophysical studies should shed light on the important topic of AMP antimicrobial action. Furthermore, we will compare secretions from two separate populations of the amphibians in Portugal, one on the mainland, and the other a population which was introduced to the Azores islands almost 200 years ago. Preliminary data has already shown that one of the species expresses a large number of bioactive peptides with new structures similar to highly effective AMPs and to insulinotrophic peptides. Overall, this project will enable valorisation of both Portuguese and Brazilian biodiversity, will identify and characterise potentially useful new molecules for human therapy, and aid in understanding two important scientific issues, namely the understanding of the mechanism of action of AMPs, and species diversity in the population of amphibians. (AU)

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