Technology Description: ARS scientists in Beltsville, MD have developed antimicrobial fusion proteins, which are multifunctional and multi-targeted antimicrobial proteins that kill more than one type of pathogenic bacteria. ARS’s fusion protein is active against Staphylococcus aureus and three streptococcal mastitis pathogens, which together are responsible for up to 50 percent of dairy cattle mastitis that occurs in the United States. Mastitis is an infection that occurs in the mammary glands of both humans and animals. In dairy cows, udder infections have severe economic impact on dairy operations—estimated at about $2 billion annually. Currently, farmers and veterinarians use antibiotics to treat infections, which may result in microbial resistance. Fusion proteins target disease-causing pathogens, which help avoid the pitfalls of broad range treatments that attack non-target pathogens—causing resistant strains. Many federal regulatory agencies promote using antimicrobials to reduce the risk of developing resistance (CDC Action Plan: http://www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/actionplan /html/product.htm).
Although antibiotics have been used for more than 50 years to cure bacterial infections, they rarely target a single group of pathogens, and are often inefficient. This technology allows for treating multi-pathogen diseases (like mastitis) without using broad range antimicrobials.
ARS researchers are seeking a company to further develop this technology into animal models and clinical trials.
Veterinary and human health researchers, pharmaceutical companies, and other facilities developing antibiotics and drug treatments could develop this technology for commercial use.
Reference: Please refer to S.N. 11/294,156 (Docket #0180.04), "Creating Designer Antimicrobials: Peptidoglycan Hydrolase Module Shuffling," which was filed on December 5, 2005. Foreign rights are available.
David M. Donovan
Biotechnology and Germplasm Lab
Beltsville, MD 20705
Phone: (301) 504-9150
Fax: (301) 504-8571