Two British researchers, who are husband and wife, have found out the presence of new proteins in garden snails which helps in fighting against harmful bacteria. They are Alan Gunn, who is a subject lead in the School of Natural Sciences and Psychology in the department for biosciences at Liverpool John Moores University and Sarah Pitt who is the principal lecturer at the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Science in the University of Brighton.
Pitt said that the idea just came randomly to her husband who was curious about the way how these snails which move through the soil containing bacteria still appeared to remain healthy. Snail mucus thus became the subject of project that was coordinated by Gunn. Four unknown proteins were discovered by them in the snail mucus. It was also found that two of the proteins had powerful antimicrobial properties against the aggressive Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which is a bacterium that caused severe lung infections in those people who had cystic fibrosis.
The result of their study has been published in British Journal of Biomedical Science. The researchers had collected mucus of garden snails and it was found that they inhibited a variety of strains of the P. aeruginosa which came from people who had infections related to cystic-fibrosis. Out of the four proteins discovered three of them were found to be successful against various bacterial strains. One among them is a 37.4 kDa protein which will be named Aspernin and had powerful antimicrobial properties as well as therapeutic potential. The other two proteins were named 18.6kDa and 17.5kDa and they had the ability to attack the infection-causing P. aeruginosa.
The current discoveries of the researchers will pave way for new therapeutic approaches and they expressed their hope in working with proteins which will have healing capability which in future can lead to novel treatment methods.