Collaboration with United States Army
Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID)

Anti-toxin proteases:  Our goal is to engineer proteases that have the capability to specifically recognize and catalytically destroy pathogen proteins. This effort is being carried out in collaboration with USAMRIID.  Our role in the project is to develop the toxin-specific proteases. 

W
e are engineering proteases against members of three distinct toxin families:
1) Botulinum neurotoxin from Clostridium botulinum,
2) Staphylococcal
enterotoxin B from Staphylococcus aureus, and
3) Shiga toxin from Shigella dysenteriae. 

These proteases are being evaluated by USAMRIID using well-established protocols for examining toxin and toxin sub-domain activity in cell and cell-free assays. These protocols form the basis for determining whether engineered proteases reduce or eliminate toxin uptake and activity.  

Initially, these will be used for ex vivo detoxification of biological warfare agents.  The most significant outcome, however, will be demonstrating basic principles of biological restriction by high-specificity proteases