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Project Description

The WLC-Milwaukee team is looking into phage therapy for this year's project. We are looking for phages specific to the outer-membrane efflux pore protein TolC. TolC analogs are found in most gram-negative bacteria, and they have been implicated as an essential protein in an efflux-based resistance mechanism to certain types of antibiotics. Our project involves expressing TolC homologs from infectious strains of bacteria in a tolC knockout strain of Escherichia coli. We are using these transgenic E. coli to search for bacteriophages specific to our selected gastrointestinal tract pathogen's versions of TolC. Our hope is that the phages specific for a pathogen's TolC protein can be used in combination with antibiotic therapy. This will place antibiotic resistant bacteria in a lose-lose situation: the bacteria which try to efflux the antibiotics via TolC will expose themselves to the pathogen's TolC-specific phage, while those which do not express TolC will be weakened to the antibiotic therapy.

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