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Engineering yeast cells for drug discovery

Grant number: 15/03553-6
Support type:Research Grants - Young Investigators Grants
Duration: October 01, 2015 - March 31, 2020
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Genetics
Principal Investigator:Elizabeth Bilsland
Grantee:Elizabeth Bilsland
Home Institution: Instituto de Biologia (IB). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):19/15689-0 - Engineering gene circuits in Saccharomyces Cerevisiae, BP.MS
18/25446-5 - Identification of pairs of transporters responsible for the import of xenobiotics through the plasma membrane of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, BP.IC
18/05328-8 - Cloning and characterization of 10 human blood-brain-barrier transporters, BP.IC
17/01986-8 - Determination of substrate specificity of plasma membrane transporters from Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Homo sapiens, BP.DR
15/19103-0 - Engineering yeast cells for drug discovery, BP.JP


Drugs directed to the central nervous system frequently fail in clinical trials because of their poor transport into the brain. This is due to the inefficient import of drugs though the blood brain barrier. In this project, we aim to use the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a platform for studying the transport of chemicals into and out of cells. We will construct yeast strains with deletions of pairs of genes expressing of each of the 121 non-essential plasma membrane transporters, and use these in high-throughput screens to identify groups of proteins with overlapping substrate specificities as well as to define chemical groups preferentially using that particular import route. We will construct yeast strains where the native ergosterol synthesis pathway is replaced for a synthetic human cholesterol synthesis pathway. We have promising preliminary results indicating that strains with cholesterol in their plasma membranes have the ability to efficiently incorporate human trans-membrane proteins. Therefore, strains with a humanized plasma membrane can be hosts for the heterologous expression of blood-brain barrier transporters. Thus, they will be used in screening to identify chemical groups preferably imported by each route, facilitating efficient design of drugs directed to the central nervous system. The humanized strains may also be used in the search for inhibitors of cholesterol synthesis, and for large-scale expression of trans-membrane proteins for structural and functional studies. (AU)

Articles published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the research grant
Antimicrobial used in toiletries could become option against malaria 
Articles published in other media outlets (2 total):
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Açaí berry extracts fight malaria in mice 

Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
FERREIRA, LETICIA T.; VENANCIO, VINICIUS P.; KAWANO, TAILA; ABRAO, LAILAH C. C.; TAVELLA, TATYANA A.; ALMEIDA, LUDIMILA D.; PIRES, GABRIEL S.; BILSLAND, ELIZABETH; SUNNERHAGEN, PER; AZEVEDO, LUCIANA; TALCOTT, STEPHEN T.; MERTENS-TALCOTT, SUSANNE U.; COSTA, FABIO T. M. Chemical Genomic Profiling Unveils the in Vitro and in Vivo Antiplasmodial Mechanism of Acai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) Polyphenols. ACS OMEGA, v. 4, n. 13, p. 15628-15635, SEP 24 2019. Web of Science Citations: 0.
BILSLAND, ELIZABETH; TAVELLA, TATYANA A.; KROGH, RENATA; STOKES, JAMIE E.; ROBERTS, ANNABELLE; AJIOKA, JAMES; SPRING, DAVID R.; ANDRICOPULO, ADRIANO D.; COSTA, FABIO T. M.; OLIVER, STEPHEN G. Antiplasmodial and trypanocidal activity of violacein and deoxyviolacein produced from synthetic operons. BMC Biotechnology, v. 18, APR 11 2018. Web of Science Citations: 2.
BILSLAND, ELIZABETH; VAN VLIET, LIISA; WILLIAMS, KEVIN; FELTHAM, JACK; CARRASCO, MARTA P.; FOTORAN, WESLEY L.; CUBILLOS, ELIANA F. G.; WUNDERLICH, GERHARD; GROTLI, MORTEN; HOLLFELDER, FLORIAN; JACKSON, VICTORIA; KING, ROSS D.; OLIVER, STEPHEN G. Plasmodium dihydrofolate reductase is a second enzyme target for the antimalarial action of triclosan. SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, v. 8, JAN 18 2018. Web of Science Citations: 5.

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