Kijas, A.W.1*, Lauko, J.1, Brouns, J.E.P. 1, van der Zon, N.1, Nam, E.1, Johnson, L.A.2, Masci, P.P.2, Zhao K.N.2, de Jersey, J.2, Lavin, M.F.3 and Rowan A.E.1


1 Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN), The University of Queensland, 4072, Brisbane, Australia;
Translational Research Institute, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia;
3 Centre for Clinical Research, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.


Snake venom provides a source of potent therapeutic agents, including a well-characterised protease, which specifically cleaves prothrombin bringing about rapid blood coagulation. Its activity is largely resistant to most commonly used anticoagulant medication and the various genetic defects of blood coagulation as it acts at a late stage in the blood coagulation cascade.

Hydrogel based on polyisocyanopeptides (PIC) functionalised with tri-ethylene glycol is an ideal semi-flexible helical scaffold for wound healing approaches as this liquid polymer gelates at body temperature, enabling easy application to complex wound sites.1 In addition, the mechanical properties of PIC hydrogel reflect that of naturally occurring biopolymers.2,3

We are taking a site-specific bio-conjugation approach producing a recombinant form of the procoagulant protease containing a Sortase A (transpeptidase) target site and using a peptide containing an N-terminal glycine and C-terminal cyclooctyne. PIC hydrogel with azide groups can then be bio-functionalised using click chemistry with the desired bio-active molecule.

A liquid-based wound dressing that can be bio-functionalised will provide a novel therapeutic approach to enable better wound management where uncontrolled bleeding has been identified as a major cause of preventable death amongst trauma victims.4

Figure 1: Bio-conjugation of the procoagulant protease, from snake venom to polyisocyanopeptide-based hydrogel provides a liquid scaffold that enables easy application to complex wound sites



1P. H. Kouwer, M. Koepf, A. E. Rowan et al., Nature 2013, 493, 651–655.

2R. K. Das, V. Gocheva, R. Hammink, O. F. Zouani and A. E. Rowan, Nat. Mater. 2016, 15, 318–325.

3R. Hammink, S. Mandal, A. E. Rowan et al., ACS Omega 2017, 2, 937-945.

4J. B. Holcomb, B. C. Tilley, S. Baraniuk et al., JAMA 2015, 313, 471-482.


Biographic Details

Name: Amanda Kijas

Title: Dr.

Affiliation, Country: AIBN, The University of Queensland, Australia

Phone: +61 7 334 64178 E-mail:

Research interests: biopolymers, protein expression, wound management.