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Anti-oomycete biomolecule : Biocide specificity, stability, optimization. – AntiOom

Anti-oomycete biomolecule

Oomycetes, also known as “water molds” are aggressive plant and animal pathogens representing a major economic concern. This project aims at better characterizing and optimizing the activities of a biomolecule showing a biocidal activity against oomycetes .

Characterization of specificity, stability and optimization of the molecule

To date, there is no efficient and specific treatment against oomycetes and oomycete control relies on the use of highly toxic drugs affecting a wide range of pathogenic as well as nonpathogenic organisms. We identified a biomolecule that could be both efficient against oomycete infections and environmentally friendly. The general objective of the AntiOom project is to provide complementary data, including an in vivo proof of concept, rendering the invention clearly attractive to industrials of both the agriculture and the fish farming industries. The proposal comprises 3 main scientific tasks that aim at answering critical questions about: 1) the range of oomycete species of economic interest that are sensitive to the biomolecule; 2) the use of the molecule to prevent plant and animal infections (in vivo proof of concept); 3) the active region(s) of the molecule (product optimization).

1) The activity of the biomolecule is tested in vitro on a range of economically interesting oomycete pathogens in order to determine both the range of potential oomycete targets and active molecule concentration range. 2) The ability of the biomolecule to protect plants and animals from oomycete infection is further tested in vivo using a selected combination of oomycete species and assays, representative of the major plant and animal diseases. 3) A product optimization study consists in producing fragments of the biomolecule and testing their respective stability, biocidal activity against oomycete and potential toxicity.

Results from the AntiOom project will allow validating the use of this biomolecule as an active molecule or the base of an active ingredient providing the agrochemical industry with a sustainable solution to fight oomycete-induced diseases, potentially for both the agriculture and aquaculture sectors.

Developing a novel drug that would be efficient against both plant and animal diseases caused by oomycetes and respectful of the environment would have a major impact on food production (animal or plant resources) and would represent a market of several billion euros.

FR 1200492; priority date: 02/17/2012

Oomycetes, also known as “water molds” are aggressive plant and animal pathogens representing a major economic concern. Altogether, oomycetes affect more than 100 genera of plants and are estimated to cause upward of 4 billion euros of damage across the world. In addition to their significant impact on crop losses, oomycetes also severely affect the production of farmed aquatic animals. It is estimated that oomycetes induce 10% loss in salmon hatcheries, which, for the sole Scottish industry represents several million euros.
To date, there is no efficient and specific treatment against oomycetes. For example, the specific anti-oomycete drug metalaxyl is commonly used to control the late blight, but resistance appears within the first year following the treatment, rendering the drug inefficient. Alternatively, oomycete control relies on the use of highly toxic drugs affecting a wide range of pathogenic as well as nonpathogenic organisms. The rise of environmental and public health concerns results in increasedstringency of the conditions for approval of chemicals in agriculture, limiting the current choice of pesticides and banning the use of many effective pesticides in the near future. It is therefore of prime importance to develop novel biocides or agricultural technologies that are efficient and respectful of the environment.
The AntiOom project is perfectly aligned with the international long-term goal of developing a sustained agriculture. It focuses on a protein (BgLBP/BPI1) from animal origin that shows a strong biocide activity against the infectious stages of several oomycete species (Phytophtora and Saprolegnia) representing major pathogens of cultivated plants, crustaceans and fishes. Our results issue from a previous research program funded by the ANR (non-thematic program). The anti-oomycete properties of animal LBP/BPI proteins and/or derived polypeptides and/or fragments and their use as or as part of a composition to prevent or cure oomycete-induced diseases whether these diseases affect human, animal or plants are now protected under a French patent application (FR 1200492; priority date: 02/17/2012). Main claims protect the use of LBP/BPI proteins as active compounds in phytosanitary preparations and/or anti-oomycete agents with application in plant and animal health. The patent application also claims all transgenic organisms expressing LBP/BPI proteins, derived polypeptides or fragments.

The AntiOom project aims at providing complementary data, including an in vivo proof of concept, rendering the invention clearly attractive to industrials of both the agriculture and the fish farming industries.
The proposal comprises 3 main scientific tasks that aim at answering critical questions about: 1) the range of oomycete species of economic interest that are sensitive to the LPB/BPI protein; 2) the use of LBP/BPI protein to prevent plant and animal infections (in vivo proof of concept); 3) the active region(s) of the protein (product optimization).

Results from the AntiOom project will therefore allow validating the use of LPB/BPI proteins as active molecules or the base of an active ingredient providing the agrochemical industry with a sustainable solution to fight oomycete-induced diseases, potentially for both the agriculture and aquaculture sectors.
TheAntiOom project will be supported by the partnering tech transfer office (INRA Transfer) assisted by the INRA’s Scientific Department Deputy Manager for the intellectual property, legal and business aspects of the project. Because of the wide scope of protection covered by the pending patent, INRA Transfer will favor the granting of non-exclusive licenses to agrochemical, biotechnological and/or animal health companies. By consolidating the “LBP/BPI technology”, the AntiOom project will favor the transfer of the technology to companies interested by its exploitation.

Project coordinator

Madame Christine COUSTAU (Institut Sophia Agrobiotech (ISA)) – Christine.Coustau@sophia.inra.fr

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.

Partner

INRA-CNRS Institut Sophia Agrobiotech (ISA)
CNRS INSTITUT DE BIOLOGIE MOLÉCULAIRE ET CELLULAIRE (IBMC)
INRA Transfert Inra Transfert

Help of the ANR 227,274 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: December 2012 - 24 Months

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