DiStRes is a Consolidator Grant ERC research project (2019), led by Abel Garcia-Pino (Faculty of Sciences)

Portrait d'Abel Garcia-PinoDiStRes: hunting down ‘superbug’ bacteria

Multidrug-resistant bacteria, which can withstand antibiotic treatments, are known as superbugs. Drug resistance has become a major public health issue, with part of the bacterial population made up of ‘persistent’ bacteria that tolerate drugs and are the source of this resistance.

A key mediator of this antibiotic tolerance is a pair of enzymes, ReIA/SpoT (also called RSH enzymes), that are the molecular components of the environmental stress response in bacteria. ‘We do not yet have a comprehensive view of how these enzymes work at the molecular level, nor of the parameters that influence stress response in bacteria’, explains Abel Garcia-Pino, WELBIO investigator in the Department of Molecular Biology (Faculty of Sciences, BioPark) and codirector of the Molecular Biophysics & Structural Biology Lab (Faculty of Sciences). The purpose of his ERC Consolidator project ‘DiStRes’ is to understand the role of RSH enzymes in stress response, but also to decrypt their organization and structure. One of the project’s goals is to develop new antibiotics based on the knowledge gained.

‘Structural biology is currently undergoing a revolution similar to that of genomics at the end of the 20th century, with improved models and increased access to information. Our work at the laboratory will enable us to design, using entirely new processes, molecules that target pathogenic bacteria, potentially leading to a new generation of antibiotics.’, he explains.

End of the project: 2025

This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 864311).

Created on December 10, 2019