Snake venom proteins
Structural characterisation of snake venom proteins
Research opportunities are available for students who are interested in gaining new insights into higher order protein structures in selected snake venoms.
Snake venoms contain complex mixtures of proteins vital for the survival of venomous snakes, with remarkable pharmacological effects that are also promising sources for therapeutic development.
Aligned with their diverse biological activities, the protein compositions of snake venoms are highly variable, and efforts to characterise the components and activities of such venoms are ongoing.
The majority of studies to date have focussed on identifying the primary sequence of the complex mixture of proteins found in snake venoms, however very few studies have investigated the protein interactions and higher-order protein structures which modulate venom potency, posing a challenge for successful therapeutic applications.
Mass spectrometry (MS) has emerged as powerful analytical tool enabling both proteomic sequencing and higher-order protein structure determination.
In this project we will combine proteomic and structural mass spectrometry workflows to gain new insights into higher order protein structures in selected snake venoms, and underpin further investigation into the protein interactions which govern snake venom activity, specificity and potency.
Study honours in biological chemistry
Research in the Pukala laboratories is focused on developing analytical and bioorganic chemistry approaches, primarily utilising mass spectrometry, to provide new insight into the structure, function and interactions of macromolecules important in biology.