This space represents the ideas, views, opinions, projects and data of researchers within the Aptamer Stream of the Freshman Research Initiative, a program developed at the University of Texas at Austin. These are projects we currently have in the pipeline.
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Clinical Advantages of Aptamer Research for Melioidosis on the B. pseudomallei
Surface Protein FliC by Guillermo Jimenez
Melioidosis is a bacterial infection
prominent in the Southeast Asian tropical region of the world. It is caused by
the illusive Burkholderia pseudomallei.
Modern techniques for diagnosing the disease have encountered several obstacles
due to the bacterium’s ability of prolonged incubation within the host. Many
patients succumb to the infection’s lethal symptoms before they are diagnosed
in time to be administered the proper treatment. An aptamer against B. pseudomallei would be utilized to
rapidly diagnose Melioidosis before the bacteria has any time to metastasize
throughout the infected host. More specifically, an aptamer against FliC, a
motor protein present in the flagellum of the organism, could effectively be
radiolabeled to localize the infection in the body.
FliC, also known as flagellin, is a
critical motor protein present in the flagella of B.pseudomallei. It interacts with the structure of the entire
organelle, forming filaments from thin organized strands (Matzke, 2003). With a
known molecular weight of 39 kDa the protein monomer functions as a multimer in
full length, giving the flagellum a whip-like characteristic that propels the
bacterium forward (Winsor, 2008). Such is so, that an aptamer may also be used
to block the binding site of the protein to the rest of the bacterium,
essentially immobolizing the organism preventing its proliferation into
full-blown Melioidosis. However, such a technique is yet to be tested and
little is known about the protein’s affinity for nucleic acid molecules. The SELEX
process of in vitro selection of such an aptamer against the protein has
already commenced with one initial round. FliC is being provided by Dr. Katy
Brown of the University of Texas’ Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology
and her laboratory. Thus..
Aim 1: To identify an aptamer against FliC target.
Aim 2: To localize FliC by incorporating an aptamer into modern diagnostic
techniques of Melioidosis.
Aim 3 (speculated): Utilize the aptamer as an inhibitory molecule in the
formation of B.pseudomallei’s
flagellum, thereby incapacitating its movement. Full proposal