THSTI scientists develop novel tools that could turn off bad genes in bacteria

Scientists at the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI) have created novel technical tools to help address the challenge of identifying genes in disease causing bacteria thereby opening up possibilities of newer drug discoveries


Make in India Research Tool: As per the info from DBT, scientists working across the world like USA, Germany, UK and Japan are using this genetic tool for functional studies in the drug discovery field

With their research funded by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), two scientists at the THSTI which is a part of the Faridabad biocluster, have independently created tools that have successfully addressed the challenge of studying genes of various diseases causing bacteria including the tuberculosis causing mycobacterium. 

Dr Bhabatosh Das, assistant professor at the Center for Human Microbial Ecology, THSTI, and his team have successfully built a delivery tool technically called "vector" for introducing and controlling any gene that they wish to study in a range of bacteria.

The scientific intelligence involved in the building of this vector termed as pBD32 (BD is abbreviation for Bhabatosh Das) is the selection of DNA from various sources and bringing them together into one delivery system. pBD32 has a piece of DNA termed as XBS selected from a virus, which in nature was known to attack the cholera bacteria and with the help of this DNA fragment goes and sits inside the bacterial chromosome. Dr Das believed that XBS would come handy to place any gene of interest in other bacterial chromosome to turn the gene "on" or "off". Scientifically this is termed as a stable, broad host range tightly regulated expression system that as described by Dr Das and his team in their Journal of Bacteriology Publication (Volume: 196, Number: 23, December 2014, Pages - 4071 4080) could be used in several bacteria like Vibrio cholerae (causing Cholera) and Klebsiella pneumoniae (causing Pneumonia), Salmonella enterica (causing Typhoid fever), Escherichia coli (lives in human gut).

Scientists working across the world like USA, Germany, UK and Japan are using this genetic tool for functional studies in the drug discovery field and highly appreciated the development with encouraging compliments.

When it comes to the tuberculosis causing bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis, nothing is ever enough as this bacterium has successfully made it difficult for the scientists' to study its essential genes. None of the tools developed till date has been proved to be greatly efficient in elucidating essential gene function in TB. Turning "off" the essential genes is a primary approach but is a major challenge as most of the delivery tools do not achieve finding the exact place where the essential gene sits in the mycobacterial genome and do not have efficient blocking mechanism for causing loss of function.


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