South San Francisco, CA (March 14, 2012): A highly targeted bactericidal protein against the life-threatening foodborne E. coli O104 strain was rapidly created using AvidBiotics' antibacterial Purocin protein technology, making use of rapidly acquired, published, draft genomic sequence data as detailed in a new publication in PLoS ONE. The strategy described offers a rapid-response platform with the potential to create targeted agents for use against emerging bacterial pathogens within days-to-weeks of acquiring the pathogen's genome sequence.
"AvidBiotics has created a highly versatile technology platform for the generation of antibacterial proteins that specifically target and rapidly kill bacterial strains, offering important benefits in food security," said AvidBiotics' scientist, Dean Scholl, Ph.D., lead author on the new publication. "In collaboration with scientists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, we've now shown that we can quickly generate such Purocin proteins against an emerging pathogen using only data acquired from its genome sequence, without necessarily having immediate access to the pathogen itself. This technology, in combination with the ever-increasing speed in which genome sequences can be generated and DNA synthesized, should provide a valuable tool for responding to newly emerging, re-emerging, and ever-changing bacterial threats." The E. coli O104 strain, which initially emerged in Germany in spring 2011, was ultimately responsible for close to 4,000 illnesses and 48 deaths.
The AvidBiotics authors and their collaborators at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Western Regional Research Center, describe how, using published genomic data from the German E. coli outbreak strain, they identified an O-antigen-specific prophage tail spike protein encoded in the pathogen's genome. They synthesized the identified gene and fused it to the tail fiber gene of an R-type bacteriocin (a defen
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