Bacteria are the largest source of clinically used antibiotics. Genome sequencing of bacterial strains has identified hundreds of pathways responsible for antibiotic production. As antibiotic resistance is now a global problem (http://www.who.int/antimicrobial-resistance/en/) many scientists are interested in using synthetic biology to engineer bacteria to produce new antibiotics. We are currently studying a biochemical pathway in a bacterial strain responsible for producing a cyclic peptide antibiotic with activity against tuberculosis. The goal of this project is to elucidate this pathway using mutagenesis, characterize key biosynthetic enzymes and engineer the enzymes to produce new derivatives.
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