Polybia-MP1 (IDWKKLLDAAKQIL-NH2) is a peptide extracted from the Brazilian wasp Polybia paulista. MP1 has been shown to attack the membranes of both bacteria and cancer cells. Even fast-growing bladder and prostate cancers, and drug-resistant leukemic cells, appear to be affected. However, more research needs to be done to understand why the peptide displays anticancer properties before it may be used to develop medicines.
The challenge was to convey the findings from this paper in a short poem. Each new line starts with a letter from the peptide sequence, and its coiled structure mimics a chain of amino acids. The research image shows chemical vesiculation of a cell line captured by Dagmara Kobza-Mroczkowska, who is researching the interaction mechanisms of membrane-active peptides.
Image credit: Dagmara Kobza-Mroczkowska