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Fluorescent Sensors of Siderophores and Other Molecules Produced by Bacterial Pathogens

Pathogenic organisms produce characteristic molecules that facilitate or promote infectious disease. Bacteria, for example, make B-lactamases, that enhance pathogenesis by inactivating penicillin-based antibiotics. They also secrete iron-chelating siderophores that steal iron from host tissues, and redirect it to the metabolic needs of the invading bacteria. KSU researchers created a series of fluorescent sensors that detect, discriminate, and quantify a variety of siderophores and other microbial products that are associated with bacterial pathogenesis of humans and animals. The sensor panel contains species-specific constructs that sensitively identify compounds that are diagnostic markers of certain bacterial pathogens. Other sensors detect siderophores that correlate with microbial invasion, colonization or tropism to particular tissues or organs.

The sensors can directly monitor the binding and transport of metal complexes by a target organism, or they may be used as decoys, that bind a siderophore ligand, but do not transport it. Either applications may define the specificities, binding affinities and uptake rates of microbial transport systems. Decoy sensors are well suited to enumerate the bacterial products that are present in different types of clinical samples, without the need to isolate, genetically engineer or otherwise modify the infectious organisms under investigation. Simple tests with these sensors may reveal the presence of particular bacteria in experimental, clinical or food samples, assess the antibiotic sensitivity of bacterial isolates, and predict the risks and progression of bacterial infections.

1. Timing:The fluorescent sensor assays require about an hour for completion (faster than traditional methods).
2. Screening:The tests are optimized for usage in cuvette-based or microtiter fluorometers.
3. Specificity:The selectivity of these sensors for particular compounds, combined with their potent sensitivity, maximizes their ability to detect, discriminate and quantify compounds of interest.

Market Application:
1. Detection of microorganisms in research, clinical, and food samples
2. Antibiotic sensitivity determinations
3. Biochemical measurements of ligand binding and transport

Additional Details


Kansas State University

Intellectual Property Protection

Pending Patent

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