Tessa Marciniak     email
Helmholtz Institute for RNA-based Infection Research (HIRI)

Supervisor:
PD Dr. Wilma Ziebuhr (Würzburg)
Promotion Committee:
PD Dr. Wilma Ziebuhr (Würzburg)
Dr. Martin Fraunholz (Würzburg)
Prof. Dr. Ulrike Holzgrabe (Würzburg)
Prof. Dr. Andrew Whitelaw (Stellenbosch)

Resistance against last resort antibiotics in staphylococci: Molecular mechanisms and RNA-based counteractions

An infection with antibiotic resistant bacteria like MRSA (Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is still a continuing threat all over the world. Although the overall number of infections is slowly decreasing there are e.g. still more than 10,000 estimated deaths per year in the US caused by MRSA. The treatment is difficult due to the bacterial resistance to many first-line antibiotics and the lack of new antibiotics. Also other staphylococci give rise to concern. Thus, we identified Staphylococcus sciuri isolates (collected from pig farms in Germany) to be highly resistant to numerous antibiotics, including last resort drugs such as daptomycin. We hypothesize that, as a soil-dwelling bacterium, S. sciuri is prone to come into contact with the natural resistance gene pool of antibiotic-producing microorganisms which in turn might facilitate horizontal gene transfer and acquisition of (novel) resistance determinants by the species. By performing a whole genome sequencing (WGS)-based population analysis of a comprehensive S. sciuri strain collection, we will evaluate the risk potential of S. sciuri as putative resistance gene reservoir for Gram-positive pathogens. Moreover, we will combine classical molecular biology with modern RNA-based approaches to elucidate the underlying mechanism(s) of S. sciuri high-level resistance against daptomycin.