Buffalo protein against cattle diseases

it is believed that buffaloes are more tolerant to tropical infections than cattle. A new study says Indian water buffalo harbours a protein which can yield antibiotics to cure diseases in cattle. The protein, called bovine neutrophil beta-defensin-4 (bnbd-4), is effective against bacteria resistant to existing antibiotics.

Little data was available on bnbd protein and its related gene in the buffalo, which heavily contributes to milk production in tropics, say researchers. The team cloned and sequenced the gene that codes for bnbd protein. The team fused the gene with a bacterial gene and inserted it in Escherichia coli bacteria, in which the protein was produced, and studied its structure.

The study by scientists from Indian Veterinary Research Institutes in West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh was published in the International Journal of Immunogenetics (Vol 34, No 3).

"We have found the protein effective against pathogens that cause mastitis, an inflammatory disease of the mammary gland that occurs during the milking stage of farm animals like cattle,' says Bidhan Chandra Bera, who led the research. He says the protein also showed efficacy against pathogens Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli.

Bera says they are planning clinical trials with bnbd protein against other diseases.