Designing a wide spectrum synthetic antivenom: VenomXL
The Opossum is an animal with outstanding resistance to toxins, snake venoms in particular. This anti-venom ability is gained through a single protein; the Lethal Toxin Neutralizing Factor (LTNF). We are attempting to produce an improved synthetic and cost-effective version of the active domain of the protein as a synthetic anti-venom for human use. VenomXL incorporates the power of the post-translational modification processes primarily methylation or acetylation on critical locations of the active polypeptide of the LTNF that improved target affinity. The synthetic polypeptide is then circularized, a process that comprises of adding cysteine amino acids to both ends of a polypeptide chain; triggering the formation of a disulphide bridge, ultimately leading to a circular structure. Circularized synthetic peptides are known for not only greater stability but also greater efficacy thereby improving its shelf life and lowering the required dosage for treatment, ultimately providing a more efficient bioproduct.