Ongoing Projects

Cyclodextrin-based traps to control cooperative action of bacteria (OTKA NKFI 125093)

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Project title: Cyclodextrin-based traps to control cooperative action of bacteria

Funding Programme: OTKA Basic research

Funding Agency: National Research, Development and Innovation Office

Project Identification Number: NKFI 125093

Project duration:  2017. 10. 01 – 2020. 09. 30

Project type: Basic research (non-consortial)

Project partner: CycloLab Cyclodextrin Research and Development Laboratory Ltd (Research location)

BME, Applied Biotechnology and Food Science Department (Collaborator)

Summary: Many bacteria regulate their cooperative activities through releasing, sensing and responding to small signaling molecules. This mechanism called quorum sensing (QS) makes possible for a population of bacteria to behave as a multi-cellular organism in host colonization, formation of biofilms, defense against competitors and adaptation to changing environment.
QS is one of the cell-to-cell communication mechanisms on cell population density. Gram-negative bacteria produce several kinds of N-acyl-L-homoserin lactones (AHLs) as signal compounds, while Gram-positive bacteria produce signal peptides called autoinducing peptides (AIPs).
Our aim is to develop cyclodextrin (CD)-based traps for capturing the signaling molecules (AHLs) concentrating on the Gram-negative bacteria and thus hindering their cooperative action, e.g. biofilm formation, bioluminescence, and virulence.
A library of CD derivatives: monomers and polymers with positive or negative charge, substituted with shorter or longer alkyl chains, labeled or not with fluorescent moieties will be designed, synthesized and tested to select the most suitable ones.
We plan to develop a simple test for quantitative characterization of QS using the bioluminescence of Aliivibrio fisheri.
In order to understand the mechanism how the CD-based traps work and to find the best fitting version concerning the cavity size, type of substituent, charge, etc. we plan to perform interaction studies between some AHLs with a series of CDs using various techniques.