Orally active spider toxins: a novel paradigm for control of insect pests (2008–2010)
The overriding aim of this proposal is to develop innovative approaches for controlling arthropod pests that spread disease and cause billions of dollars damage annually to crops and livestock. The research program will build upon the recent discovery in Prof. King's laboratory that several peptide toxins isolated from spider venom are lethal when administered orally to a range of arthropod pests, including ticks, caterpillars, and mosquitoes. We will use innovative peptide chemistry approaches to improve the stability of these peptides in insect tissues and to enhance their ability to traverse insect gut epithelia. The work has profound implications for arthropod pest control in Australia.