Insects are the most successful group of organisms on earth in terms of biodiversity. Their tremendous taxonomic and molecular diversity makes the indispensable as biological resources for natural product research. This project aims to identify natural products by targeting insects from Indonesia that exhibit antimicrobial activity, particularly against the infective agents responsible for tuberculosis and malaria. Two approaches will be combined to perform targeted screening for novel antimicrobial peptides and small organic molecules. The analysis of hemolymph samples and defensive secretions from insects will include the use of a newly-developed portable GC-MS device that allows initial screening in the field, e.g. in the rainforest. Screens for novel antimicrobial peptides will be based on the suppression subtractive hybridization approach, a PCR-based technique which is the method of choice for the targeted identification of new effector genes. Novel antimicrobial small molecules will be synthesized de novo, and novel antimicrobial peptides will be produced as recombinant proteins. Both will be tested for their activity against human pathogenic bacteria and Plasmodium falciparum. The expertise and technologies established within the LOEWE Center for Insect Biotechnology and Bioresources in Giessen provides an ideal platform for the further development of insect-derived anti-infectives as new therapeutic entities. Our combined approaches in targeted identification of novel compounds with anti-infective activity in insects will be for the first time applied in a country that belongs to hot spots of biodiversity.
Prof. Rosichon Ubaidillah, Animal Taxonomy and Entomology, Indonesian Institute of Sciences, Research Center for Biology, Gedung Widyasatwaloka, Museum Zoologicum Bogoriense
Dr. Hari Sutrisno, Entomology, Indonesian Institute of Sciences, Research Center for Biology, Gedung Widyasatwaloka, Museum Zoologicum Bogoriense
Dr. Djunijanti Peggie, Animal Taxonomy (Entomology), Indonesian Institute of Sciences, Research Center for Biology, Gedung Widyasatwaloka, Museum Zoologicum Bogoriense
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