EAGER-NSF-BSF: Quorum Biosensing Using Magnetic Field-Activated Molecular Machines

Project Details


Quorum sensing is a mechanism of gene regulation triggered by small molecules sensing by bacteria in order to control the density of bacterial population depending on available resources. Disruption of this mechanism using small molecules is a novel strategy to combat pathogenic bacteria. The importance and advantage of identifying such potential drugs is that by signaling bacteria with “disinformation”, bacteria are not threatened, hence have no incentive to develop resistance to the drug (unlike with conventional antibiotics). Thus, these drugs are expected to be in the forefront of antibacterial treatments, when antibiotics could not be used anymore. The proposed research program will make use of a novel class of Magnetic Field-activated Molecular Machines that will be developed by the proposing teams. These new machines will be used as unique biosensors devices that will enter the cells and will report (upon magnetic stimulation) on the concentration of different genes in their transcribed form (mRNA) that are in charge of sensing between bacteria. The reporting signal will be fluorescent and will be quantified. The fluorescent signal will be an indication of the quantities of mRNA molecules that exist in the cell. This approach can be taken both for the quantification of multiple genes but also for the screening of potential drugs (out of potential drug libraries) that inhibit the sensing of small molecules between bacteria. Since in-vivo quantification of mRNA is considered a realistic representation of the state of cells at a given time point, we expect this approach to be highly productive in the sensing of quorum sensing in bacteria, but also for the sensing of different bacteria on surface in bacteria as well as for the identification of potential new antibacterial drugs.

Effective start/end date1/01/19 → …


  • United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF)


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