Agricultural Uses of Proteases
with Dr. Shunyuan Xiao, University of Maryland Center for Biosystems Research


Potomac Affinity Protein is developing a novel delivery system for specifically targeting bioactive molecules to host-pathogen interfaces in collaboration with Dr. Shunyuan Xiao, a plant molecular pathologist. This will be achieved by exploiting natural protein sorting and trafficking mechanisms (Dr. Xiao) coupled with protease-engineering (Potomac Affinity).

A nanomachine will be constructed with the goal of delivering an anti-fungal protein to a host-pathogen interface for fighting against fungal invasion.  The nanomachine consists of:

1) a targeting signal that specifically directs vesicle traffic to the host-pathogen interface, 

2) an anti-fungal protein, and

3) a subtilisin that can release the anti-fungal protein at the interface in response to nitric oxide. 

The goal of this work is creation of novel disease-resistant crops.  Preliminary work has been funded by a Grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to Dr. Xiao.