EXPLOITING THE BIOTECHNOLOGICAL POTENTIAL OF BACTERIOPHAGES

with Joana Azeredo | October 25, 2013 - 14h30 | CIBIO-InBIO, Vairão

 

Bacteriophages are naturally occurring predators of bacteria, ubiquitous in the environment. There are an estimated 1031 bacteriophages on the Earth which makes them the most abundant entity in the biosphere. Bacteriophages have high host specificity, being capable of recognizing their bacterial hosts and have the ability to evolve to overcome bacterial resistance. These features make phages appealing options for pathogens control and to be used in detection tools. Furthermore phages encode murein hydrolases (endolysins) that break down bacterial peptidoglycan at the terminal stage of the phage reproduction cycle. Endolysins can be very attractive tools to control bacterial pathogens, however the use of these enzymes externally in Gram-negative bacteria is challenging. This presentation will be focus on the morphological and genomic characteristics of tailed bacteriophages using examples of bacteriophages that were isolated by the Bacteriophage Biotechnology Group and will give a special attention to the strategies used to exploit the biotechnological potential of bacteriophages in pathogens detection and control.

 

Joana Azeredo is an associate professor at the University of Minho and a researcher at the Centre of Biological Engineering of the same University, being the head of the “Bacteriophage Biotechnology Group”. Her research interests are mainly focused on the interaction between bacteriophages and bacterial hosts and the exploitation of bacteriophage genome’s encoded peptides. like enzymes and host binding proteins to be used in the detection and control of pathogens.

 

[Group leader: Gertrude Thompson, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases]