Seminar: Dr. Daniel Nelson (Associate Professor, University of Maryland College Park)
Speaker: Dr. Daniel Nelson (Associate Professor, University of Maryland College Park)
Title: Harnessing Antimicrobial and Immunotherapeutic Properties of Bacteriophage Proteins
Abstract: Endolysins are a class of bacteriophage-encoded peptidoglycan hydrolases that function to lyse the bacterial host cell wall in order to release progeny phage. Most of these enzymes, also known as lysins, have one or more enzymatically active domains (EADs) that cleave one of several conserved bonds in the bacterial peptidoglycan and a cell-wall binding domain (CBD) that binds to the bacterial surface in a species- or strain-specific manner. Significantly, when these enzymes are purified and added exogenously to susceptible Gram-positive pathogens, osmotic lysis and cell death can result in seconds, suggesting a unique antimicrobial approach. The discovery and development of these enzymes as biotherapeutic agents will be discussed. Topics will include studies on host range, resistance, toxicity, synergy, pharmacokinetics, antibody formation, in vivo models, and current bioengineering approaches to optimize these enzymes. At the end, our most recent work on fusing these enzymes with monoclonal antibodies to make species-specific immunotherapeutics will be presented.