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CRISPR-Cas-Directed Bacteriophage Treatment of Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) Diarrhea

Haiqing Sheng and collaborators Carolyn Bohach and Scott Minnich from the University of Idaho in the U.S. will exploit the CRISPR-Cas9 (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats and CRISPR-associated protein 9) system in a dual approach to combat enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) infections. EPEC cause diarrhea and result in several hundred thousand infant deaths annually. They will engineer a CRISPR-Cas9 cassette to recognize and cleave a DNA sequence found specifically in EPEC, which will lead to selective EPEC cell death in the intestinal tract without affecting other beneficial bacteria. The engineered CRISPR-Cas9 will be administered using both safe EPEC-targeting viruses (bacteriophage) to treat primary infections as well as probiotic E.coli to stably establish the EPEC-targeting plasmid in the gut and block re-infection. They will test it using an established rabbit model of EPEC infection, which will pave the way for future clinical testing.

More information about Addressing Newborn and Infant Gut Health Through Bacteriophage-Mediated Microbiome Engineering (Round 15)

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