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© 2014 Sethi et al. For novel biotechnology-based termite control, we developed a cellulose bait containing freeze-dried genetically engineered yeast which expresses a protozoacidal lytic peptide attached to a protozoa-recognizing ligand. The yeast acts as a 'Trojan-Horse' that kills the cellulose-digesting protozoa in the termite gut, which leads to the death of termites, presumably due to inefficient cellulose digestion. The ligand targets the lytic peptide specifically to protozoa, thereby increasing its protozoacidal efficiency while protecting non-target organisms. After ingestion of the bait, the yeast propagates in the termite's gut and is spread throughout the termite colony via social interactions. This novel paratransgenesis-based strategy could be a good supplement for current termite control using fortified biological control agents in addition to chemical insecticides. Moreover, this ligand-lytic peptide system could be used for drug development to selectively target disease-causing protozoa in humans or other vertebrates. Copyright:

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