Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
School of Biological Sciences
Nathan T Motimer
Venom proteins have been found in a wide range of species in the animal kingdom. These venoms serve various functions such as defense against predators, hunting for food, and parasitism for reproduction. Because of their diverse functions, venom proteins are utilized in agrochemical treatments for protection from pests as well as treatments to control human diseases. Venoms, including those coming from a range of insect species, have been manipulated for these purposes, but many remain uncharacterized. Currently, one of the orders that venom-based research is focusing on are parasitoids from the order Hymenoptera. The purpose of some venom proteins in Hymenopteran parasitoids have been identified in manipulating host signaling and metabolic functions. For example, in the parasitic wasp Ganaspis hookeri, the venom protein SERCA has an important role in regulating calcium signaling in immune cells. Exposure to Ganaspis hookeri venom alters calcium signaling which results in the failure of immune cell activation.
Although research is focusing on the agrochemical and pharmaceutical roles of venom proteins from Hymenoptera, many species and their venoms remain uncharacterized. One of the less elaborated venom compositions of parasitoids in Hymenoptera is Dasymutilla occidentalis, the cow killer wasp. Oddly, the cow killer wasp uses its venom for two separate purposes: parasitism and defense. In this analysis, biotechnological applications will be employed to characterize the diversity of the venom proteins found within the cow killer wasp and why this parasitic wasp is able to use its venoms for the dual purposes of defense and parasitism.
Gunawan, Eva, "Bioinformatic Analysis of Venom Proteins from Dasymutilla Occidentalis" (2020). Theses and Dissertations. 1331.