About the Project
The Mcr-1, the protein encoded by mcr-1 gene, is thought to be a membrane-anchored enzyme with phosphoethanolamine transferase activity modifying lipid A, a component of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) on Gram-negative bacterial outer membrane. LPS, also known as endotoxin, is a major virulence factor of Gram-negative bacteria which triggers strong immune responses and may lead to septic shock if present in the blood stream. The mechanism by which this modification confers resistance is still unclear, and it is not known how the expression of mcr-1 gene is regulated, nor what effects modification of LPS may have on bacterial ‘fitness’ and the ability of the bacteria to interact with the immune system and damage host cells.
1. To screen a large panel of E. coli isolates for the presence of the mcr-1 gene
2. To assess whether the presence of the gene always confers the same level of resistance to colistin
3. To investigate the physio-chemical changes to the cell surface in bacteria expressing mcr-1
4. To assess whether modification of the LPS and cell surface affects the virulence of the organisms in terms of their ability to adhere to and damage eukaryotic cells, and their induction of a host immune response
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