Unicellular eukaryotic pathogens and pathogenic fungi are a wide spread global problem. Infections can lead to dramatic consequences. For example, crop infecting fungi can cause a harvest loss of up to 100%.
The aim of our project is to create a customisable, phage based platform system to tackle the issue of fungi infection and other eukaryotic pathogens. Our phage derived particles have an adaptable protein coat which allows the specific recognition and uptake by the pathogen, via endocytosis. Additionally they are carrying a CRISPR system which can be adjusted to target specific pathogens. In case of specific identification of the pathogen target gene by the CRISPR system, cell death of the pathogenic cell will be induced. With these building blocks our particles will be able to specifically identify and kill the targeted pathogen, while the host cells and other cells will remain completely unaffected.
Our particles will be produced using Escherichia coli and we will use Saccharomyces cerevisiae as an eukaryotic model organism, to verify the functionality of the system.
To add another dimension to our platform system we want to establish our particles as a new method for the transformation of fungi. Fungi are important producers in the biotech industry, but the current transformation methods often show low efficiencies. With our system we hope to establish an easy and efficient method of transformation.