Endoribonucleases as tools in pathogen diagnostics
Bacterial antibiotic resistance has been recognized in different bacterial strains for several decades as a world-wide problem, but now it is an alarming situation with still few alternatives to fight against. We have faced this problem by studying the antibiotic resistant mechanism(s) at the molecular level with the ultimate goal to develop new antimicrobials (A) and create new tools for clinical diagnostics (B).
A. My research program studies a new aspect of antimicrobial resistance: DORMANCY. Antibiotic treatment induces formation of dormant bacteria that are non-genetically resistant to antibiotics. It is important to understand how bacteria became dormant under antibiotic treatment as these can explain major chronic and relapsing infections observed during clinical antibiotic treatments. How bacteria became dormant is not well understood. However, entry into dormancy seems to be in part regulated by toxin-antitoxin systems, such as MazEF TAS of S. aureus.
We are focused on understanding how MazEF in S. aureus contributes to entry into dormancy. We have identified one key MazF molecular pathway contributing to dormancy through an effect on ribosome biogenesis and translation. We are currently understanding this MazF function with the goal of developing new methods to block entry into bacterial dormancy.
B. We are applying a new CRISPR diagnostic tool able to detect different pathogens and antibiotic resistance directly from clinical samples. This tool seems to be a rapid and sensitive, running without the need of high technical skills or sophisticated equipment, key characteristics essential for the development of a point of care (POC) testing.