Talk:Team:Stony Brook


Revision as of 20:18, 26 August 2014 by Ntayco64 (Talk | contribs)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)

Stony Brook iGEM Homepage facebook twitter

Project Description

The threat of antibiotic resistance has been a concern since the discovery of penicillin. As antibiotics continue to be used to treat disease, pathogenic bacteria continue to develop resistance, eventually becoming irresponsive to multiple classes of antibiotics. This is a major problem for areas that must maintain sterile environments, such as hospitals or other health-care settings. Hospital-acquired infections (HAI) are already an existing issue that poses risks to people receiving or recovering from treatment. Gram-negative bacteria in particular are known to cause more HAIs as they are more resistant to antibiotics than gram-positive bacteria. Irresponsible use of antibiotics has only exacerbated this issue. Recent reports from the World Health Organization confirm that antibiotic resistance is no longer something to worry about in the future, but a current, global health threat.

Alternatives to modern antibiotics, such as antimicrobial peptides, are now being researched. Antimicrobial peptides, or AMPs, are peptides produced innately by the immune systems of certain organisms to fight off infection. Because they kill microorganisms through different mechanisms, they have the potential to be effective against antibiotic resistant bacteria. One such AMP is melittin, produced by honey bees and used in their venom. Melittin kills cells by forming pores in the cell membrane, eventually destabilizing the cell and causing cell lysis. Because melittin targets a conserved area of cells, bacteria cannot develop resistance to it as easily as different types of antibiotics.

Our project this summer is to transform E. coli with the melittin gene in honey bees, so that the E. coli may express the melittin peptide, thereby developing a means to mass-produce melittin as an alternative to today's antibiotics. We hope to optimize the production of melittin in E. coli, as well as to test the bioactivity of our produced melittin in comparison to its naturally-occurring counterpart.