The scourge of snake bite affects mainly the rural poor in tropical developing countries. A peptide derived from a serum protein of the North American Opossum (Didelphis virginiana) was reported in the 90’s to neutralize snake and other toxins but never developed into a therapy. The peptide is the N-terminus of an Ig-like protein named Lethal Toxin Neutralizing Factor. This report describes the production of recombinant LTNF peptide in E. coli followed by purification from inclusion bodies. While the original publications erroneously claimed the peptide has activity against all types of toxins found in snake venom as well as other biological toxins, our work demonstrates the ability of the peptide to neutralize snake venom toxins in mice, but is restricted to hemotoxic and hemorrhagic toxins. Indeed, the set of hemorrhagic toxins in Echis carinatus can be completely neutralized by the peptide.

Anti-Hemorrhagic Peptide from Didelphis virginia

Advisor: Dr. Claire Komives

Author: Michael Ernesto Balderrama