As stated by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in 1998, "Antibiotic resistance as a phenomenon is, in itself, not surprising. Nor is it new. It is however, newly worrying because it is accumulating and accelerating, while the world’s tools for combating it decrease in power and number" Now, almost 15 years after this declaration, the news about the spread of bacteria resistant to most antibacterial compounds consistently reach the mainstream media. The development of new weapons against these pathogens requires a deep understanding of their biology and, especially, a thorough knowledge of the palette of molecular tools which make these bugs resistant to environmental stresses. Most bacteria, including human and animal pathogens, can acquire high resistance state as a result of exposure to stress, a state named stress-induced cross-resistance. Since in their natural environment bacteria rarely find conditions for exponential growth, understanding the mechanisms involved in the achievement of stress-induced cross-resistance, is of crucial importance for the control of bacterial populations. Despite the current urgency in the development of technologies which will allow us to gain control over bacterial populations, little effort has been devoted to understanding the details of stress-induced cross-resistance.
Specifically we are interested in the following:
- The ribosome and protein synthesis:
- Analysis of the structure and function of the bacterial ribosome and of the interaction of this macromolecule with antibiotics inhibitors of protein synthesis.
- Analysis of the role of the bacterial ribosome in the stress response and in the development of cross-resistance mechanisms.
- Mechanisms of iron acquisition during infection:
- Analysis of the interaction between siderophores and their receptor proteins during infections for the rational design of antibacterials against Gram-negative pathogens.
- Systems Biology:
- Using the technique called "ribosome profiling" for the study of gene expression profiles.