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Marine invertebrates as source of novel biotoxins: Investigating function and application through Polychaeta venomics

(FCT Ref. PTDC/BTA-BTA/28650/2017)

Briedf description

Even though the oceans may offer an almost inexhaustible source of animal biotoxins, whose value for research and biomedical applications is undisputable, the lack of integrated research to discover, isolate and characterise new marine biotoxins is delaying their added value to Biotechnology. The present application aims at developing a comprehensive strategy to unravel marine invertebrate biotoxins upon lessons learned from the Polychaeta, which form a diverse and abundant taxon that has been neglected albeit recent findings showing an unexpected variety of entirely novel peptidic biotoxins. The project is a tiered approach that combines expeditious in vivo and in vitro toxicity testing of harvested and isolated toxins (e.g. from secreted mucus) with state-of-the-art ‘venomics’ and other tools to disclose the nature, mode-of-action and adaptative value of these toxins in order to build a database for the efficient transfer of knowledge to industry and other societal stakeholders.