Disarming the enemy: development of inhibitors of Shiga toxin expression in E. coli O157:H7

University of Glasgow

Past award

Student: Aisling Brady : University of Glasgow

Year Award Started: 2017

Bacteria produce a series of proteins and toxins known as virulence factors. These factors are responsible for the symptoms people experience during an infection and also help bacteria to infect the host successfully. Neutralising or blocking the production of these factors instead of killing bacteria is an attractive approach as this would put less selective pressure for the development of bacterial resistance mechanisms. E. coli O157:H7 cause gastrointestinal disease in humans that can evolve to a more serious condition known as haemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The disease is caused by Shiga toxin, the main virulence factor produced by E. coli O157:H7. Unfortunately, the current treatment strategy for HUS is purely supportive as the use of antibiotics enhances toxin production. This project focuses on finding agents that block the expression of Shiga toxin without affecting bacterial growth or viablity, the so-called anti-viruelence approach.

Research area: Infections, inflammation or immunology


Dr Andrew Roe
Institute of Infection, Inflammation and Immunity