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Wasp and Bee venom to fight antibiotic resistant organisms


Venomous animals are widely spread all over the globe. Several terrestrial vertebrates (reptiles, birds, insects, and mammals) are also venomous. Major arthropods (scorpions, bees, and wasps) have multicellular glands attached to the stinging apparatus. Bee venom obtained from stepwise fractionation has been reported to contain peptides (Prasasty et al, 2018). It has been known for many years that venom of insects like wasps and bees have compounds that can fight bacteria. Along with that, however, for many humans, these same insect venoms cause toxic reactions so without some kind of refinement was needed. researchers at MIT took the toxin from a South American wasp and created variants of the peptide that are potents against bacterial while nontoxic to human cells. As part of their immune defenses, many organisms produce peptides that can kill bacteria. To help fight the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, many scientists have been trying to adapt these peptides as potential drugs. The study found that the peptide from the venom is believed to kill microbes by disrupting the cell membranes on bacteria (Torres et al, 2018)


Wasp venom contains numerous bioactive substances that the insect uses to both hunts for food and protect against intruders. This same substance has drawn the attention of researchers seeing the potential physiological, pharmacological, and therapeutic applications. Pharmacologically mastoparan peptides are just one group that is promising in their broad-spectrum action against micro-organism inhibitory effects against some tumor growth and stimulating serotonin release from platelets and mast cell degranulation. It is clear venom produced by venomous creatures have evolved because of their direct benefits to these organisms in terms of self-defense and/or prey acquisition. The bioactive peptides from wasp venom should represent a promising source for new drug leads discovery and development, having been shown to be potent substances. This study has reinforced the general utility of mastoparan as an alternative to conventional antibiotics (Chen et al, 2018).

Wasp venom is a potentially important natural drug. Unfortunately, it can also cause severe allergic reactions. Systemic study of wasp venom was conducted by searching for antibody-binding epitope panning on serum samples from sting victim. A to,tal of 35 specific potential wasp venom epitopes in four days were identified. Among them nine were identified as being potentially allergens. Wasp toxins which have important values to science especially the field of pharmacology and immunology are hard to obtain. Venom was broken down for the first time in 1950’s and is mainly made of serotonin, histamine, bradykinin hyaluronidase and a large number of peptides and proteins. Recently the venom was found to also contain anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antitumor effects as well (Chai et al, 2018).

Bee venom has been widely investigated for potential medical uses. Recent uses of bee venom bases products have shown to mitigate signs of fungal infections. Bee venom taken from Apis mellifera L. has been utilized for centuries as a suitable pain killer and anti-inflammatory agent for various chronic diseases. Extensive research has been carried out to evaluate the effects of bee venom as well as the components of it. Many studies have been conducted showing the many uses the of the components of bee venom. Recently, robust studies have shown antibacterial activity of bee venom. It also has been found to have anti-inflammatory properties prompting production of a number of acne products that are bee venom based. Further study is needed however, before bee venom can be used by pharmacology (Park et al, 2018).

Potential uses for wasp/bee venom
Antimicrobial resistance is one of the greatest challenges in today’s world. It threatens efficient protection against infections caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites. Because of the overuse of antibiotics through the past decades, many pathogens have developed a resistance to them vial natural selection. Now resistance to these pathogens has lead to common infections or injuries that can kill as antibiotics no longer work. Because of this bioactive natural products represent an important source of new antimicrobial agents. One of these agents is the venom of wasps. It has been found to contain a rich source of bioactive compounds. This study demonstrates an evaluation of the antimicrobial activity of different concentrations of wasp venom. They also found all pathogens the researchers tested against the wasp venom were sensitive against. This study provides basis for further study (Farag & Swaby, 2018).

And another use
MRSA-methocillin resistant staphylococcus aureus, is a major human pathogen that can cause not only health care associated but also community acquired infections. The CDC have estimated more than 80,000 people in the US are infected with MRSA annually with 11,300 who have died. In Europe over 171,000 healthcare associated infections due to MRSA are estimated each year. This study was aimed at the investigation of how well venom-derived peptide worked against pathogens. MP-1 from wasp venom showed a faster attack against MRSA compared with vancomycin. The results of this study suggests MP-1 can reduce biofilm-residing bacteria. Gradients in oxygen and nutrients can yield a metabolically heterogenous bacterial populations or dead. Rapid bactericidal activity of MP-1 points to the conclusion that mechanism of action is the direct interaction of the peptide with the bacterial membrane. The study showed it was less likely to cause antimicrobial resistence-more study is needed (Memariani et al, 2018).

In recent time strains of multi-resistant bacteria have emerged. These organisms represent a huge public health threat due to the problem of treating, high mortality rates and the increase in hospital acquired resistant bacteria. There are (according to this study) six major pathogens that fall into this heading of being multi-resistant. These organisms share a common problem of selective pressure on public polices for antibiotic use. The venom of social wasps, however, contain a variety of bioactive compounds that have been found to contain a number of pharmacological uses. This includes an antimicrobial activity. Several bioactive peptides were isolated from wasp venoms. The most studied group are the mastoparan peptides (MP-1). Recently, polydim-1 has been found to be active against Mycobacterium abscessus infections in the lab. This study was done to expand the potential antimicrobial activity of this newest peptide from wasp venom. Polydim-1 was found able to disrupt the cell wall of Mycobacterium abscessus subsp. Massiliense, verified by the use of the scanning electron microscope. It was also found to destabilize bacterial membrane by interaction with the lipid bi-layer leading to lysis (a breakdown of cells caused by destruction of the outer membrane). Despite great advances in medicine, antibiotic resistance to pathogens continues to be serious problem in healthcare. This has lead to researchers attempting to find other means to fight these organisms. Bee and wasp venom, while very dangerous to those who are allergic, have revealed great promise to future methods of treating these resistant pathogens. Further study will assure a method of removing the component of most allergens from the venom while continuing the search for the peptides useful against otherwise resistant organisms (Rangel et al, 2017).

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Works Cited
Chai,L. et al. (2018). Biopanning of allergens from wasp sting patients. Biosciences Reports.

Chen,X. et al. (2018). Evaluation of bioactivity of a mastoparan peptide from wasp venom and of its analogues designed through targeted engineering. International Journal of Biological Sciences, 14 (6).

Farag,R. & Swaby,S. (2018). Antimicrobial effects of wasp venom Vespa orientailis. Egyptian Pharmaceutical Journal, 17(3).

Memariani,H. et al. (2018). Venom-derived peptide mastoparan-1 readicates planktonic and biofilm-embedded methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus isolates. Microbial Pathogenesis, 199.

Park,J. et al. (2018). Antifungal effects of bee venom study for possible emerging antifungal agent. Annals of Dermatology, 30(2).

Prasesty, V. et al. (2018). Natural peptides in drug discovery targeting acetylcholinesterase. Molecules. https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/23/9/2344

Rangel, M. et al. (2017). Polydim-1 antimicrobial activity against MDR bacteria and its model membrane. PLoS ONE,12(6).

Torres,M.D. et al. (2018). MIT engineers repurpose wasp venom as an antibiotic drug. Massachusetts Institute of Technology.