Lien Taevernier

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Lien Taevernier

Drug Quality and Registration (DruQuaR) group
Ottergemsesteenweg 460, 9000 Ghent (Belgium)

Phone: + 32 (0)9 264.81.01 (secr. 81.01)
Fax: + 32 (0)9 264.81.93



Ph.D. research


Title: Skin interaction of the cyclic depsipeptides


Cyclic depsipeptides (CDPs) are an emerging group of naturally occurring bioactive peptides, some of which are already developed as pharmaceutical drugs, e.g. valinomycin. They are produced not only by fungi (e.g. the mycotoxins enniatins [ENs] and beauvericin [BEA]) and bacteria (e.g. the anti-lymphoma romidepsine), but also by marine organisms (e.g. the anti-HIV papuamides). The mycotoxins, which are non-ionised, cyclic hexadepsipeptides with cation-complexing ionophoric and lipophilic properties, are generally toxic and can cause serious health problems. Overall, immunosuppressive effects are thought to play a role in their toxicity. On the other hand, there is an increasing appreciation of the role of these peptides as theranostics.

At this moment, however, there is a significant lack of understanding about the local skin and systemic effects via dermal exposure of CDPs in general. Moreover, mechanistic pathways and models are completely absent. Therefore our general goal is to make a quantitative characterisation of their dermal exposure and the immune effects in the skin with its different immune cells. This knowledge is required, not only for the urgently needed global risk assessment due to skin-contact of contaminated food, feed, indoor surfaces and airborne particles with CDP-mycotoxins, but also in the development of topically applied new drugs with CDP-structure, treating dermatological diseases like eczema or skin cancers, or having systematic functions after transdermal penetration.

Keywords: cyclic depsipeptide, mycotoxin, transdermal, skin, immune-modulation