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Komodo Dragon: Serum Found In The Lizard's Blood Has A Possibility To Be Therapeutic, Research Shows

First Posted: Feb 28, 2017 05:23 AM EST
Largest Lizard On Earth - The Komodo Dragon
Antimicrobial activity was found in the blood of the Komodo dragon.
(Photo : BBC Earth/YouTube screenshot)

Many people know that one of the deadliest animals on Earth is the Komodo dragon. It is known to be equipped with bacteria that can cause death. However, researchers have detected an antimicrobial protein fragment in the lizard's blood that may happen to help it resist deadly infections in a new study.

EurekAlert reported that the recent discovery that has been published in the Journal of Proteome Research, scientists have found that it could lead them to developing a new drug to combat bacteria that have become antibiotic resistant.

Komodo dragon is famous as one of the world's largest lizards. It usually resides on the five small islands in Indonesia. The saliva of this said lizard contains at least 57 bacteria species. These enable the lizard to kill its prey easily. Thus, the Komodo dragon is not affected or resistant to bacteria.

As follows, scientists have found that the serum from this kind of animal has an antibacterial activity. The substances, known as cationic antimicrobial peptides (CAMPs), are formed by nearly all of the living creatures and these are an essential part of the innate immune system, according to IFL Science.

Thus, Barney Bishop, Monique van Hoek and their colleagues in the College of Science at George Mason University wondered if they could isolate the CAMPs from the Komodo dragon's blood like they have previously experienced with the alligator's blood. The purpose is to expand the library of the known CAMPs for therapeutic studies.

The research team uses a method called bioprospecting. The blood of the Komodo dragon was incubated with the negatively charged hydrogel particles that the researchers developed to capture the peptides that are positively charged. Through this method, they were able to identify and sequenced 48 potential CAMPs with mass spectrometry.

In line with this, all but one of these was derived from the histone proteins. It is known to have an antimicrobial activity. Eight of the peptides have been synthesized and tested against Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus. Seven of which have shown significant potency against both bacteria. However, eight were only effective against P. aeruginosa.

The researchers concluded that the Komodo dragon's blood plasma contains a host of potentially viable antimicrobial peptides. These peptides could hopefully help the researchers to create new therapeutics in the future.

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