As the name suggests, we decided to focus our project on attempting to inhibit biofilm formation via the alteration of genes in the quorum-sensing pathway found in Pseudomonas Putida.
Biofilms are microbial communities living attached to a solid support such as catheters which are involved with 60% nosocomial infections (hospital acquired infections). This project would be the basis for preventing gram negative bacteria role in nosocomial infections by preventing the formation of these biofilm formation. Therefore, by generating a BioBrick part which can upregulate RasL and therefore downregulate quorum sensing intercellular combination of bacteria, can prevent bacterial communication and thus biofilm formation. This can benefit public health as gram-negative bacteria can cause a range of nosocomial infections including sepsis and pneumonia.
This project can help towards targeting antibiotic resistance. It is known that gram negative bacteria such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Pseudomonas Putida harbour multiple resistance to antibiotics (MDR). Specifically, biofilm-associated microorganism’s exhibit decreased susceptibility to antimicrobial agents. Susceptibility can be intrinsic, which is due to the growth in the biofilm. Susceptibility can also be extrinsic, which is due to the transfer of extrachromosomal elements to susceptible organisms in the biofilm. Therefore, having a target based intervention of the formation of the biofilm can prevent the decrease in the susceptibility of antimicrobials in a health care setting.
The implications of this project are vast in the public health sector. It can have direct effects on public health, using the BioPrick part generated to downregulate quorum sensing can be utilised in biological technology to directly prevent the adverse effects of biofilm formation such as infections which can cause a high fatality rate in patients who are immunocompromised for example. This project can also indirectly prevent the adverse effects such as costs and in fact improve infection control. Many problems associated with nosocomial infections include longer hospital stays, therefore increase in bed occupancy thus decrease in hospital space for new incoming patients, and ward closure, pain and anxiety for patients and families, loss of earning. Consequently, this project allows the universal approach in improving public health in the long term.