Creating A Method To Determine Burkholderia mallei Infection Using A Nucleic Acid Aptamer

Zoe White
Creating A Method To Determine Burkholderia mallei Infection Using A Nucleic Acid Aptamer

Doctor Katy Brown, at the University of Texas at Austin, is investigating a way to detect Burkholderia mallei infection at an earlier stage than is currently possible. The glanders that present once the disease is present have a 95% mortality rate if left untreated and a 50% mortality rate once treated. (Whitelock et al. 2007) The current diagnostic technique is slow and delays treatment of the disease. The aptamer would create an avenue by which diagnosing the infection would be faster and more efficient. This disease is especially prevalent in humans and horses.

An aptamer selecting against Burkholderia mallei detect surface-localized and secreted macromolecules produced by the bacteria. The aptamer would target the B. mallei BimA protein(Qazi et al. 2011). This would help in the detection of this category B biothreat. Current procedures for detection and diagnosis of the glanders caused by B. mallei are slow and delay treatment. Aptamers are highly specific and have a high affinity for their protein targets.

Specific Aim: Development of Nucleic Aptamer Against B. mallei BimA protein
Detection of the BimA protein speeds the detection and diagnosis of the infection. This protein is specific to B. mallei, which is crucial since this bacteria is closely related to other Burkholderia bacteria.

Dr. Brown will provide the targets.

Whitlock GC, Estes DM, Torres AG: Glanders: off to the races with Burkholderia mallei. FEMS Microbiol Lett 2007, 277:115-122.

Wuthiekanun V, Peacock SJ: Management of melioidosis. Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther 2006, 4:445-455.

Qazi O, et al.: Development of reagents and assays for the detection of pathogenic Burkholderia species. Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology, University of Texas at Austin. 2011.


Stephanie Tutak said...

I think it's great that you are applying aptamer research to investigate such a unique disease! Keep up the good work!!


Alec Rezigh said...

Nice job, Zoe. As a diagnostic, do you envision using a fluorescent or an enzyme-linked tag, or did you have something else in mind? Best of luck with your selection!

Leta Ko said...

I've never heard about this disease! sounds like a ground-breaking discovery!

Juan Herrejon said...

Sounds like a fascinating application of aptamers! Very interesting idea!

Good luck!!