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Mycoplasma Pathogenicity: Alternative Models and Diagnostics.

Grant number: 16/13788-3
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Post-doctor
Effective date (Start): November 14, 2016
Effective date (End): November 13, 2017
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Biochemistry - Molecular Biology
Principal Investigator:Mario Jose Abdalla Saad
Grantee:Kelly Lima Calisto da Silva
Supervisor abroad: Paolo Fiorina
Home Institution: Faculdade de Ciências Médicas (FCM). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Local de pesquisa : Harvard University, Boston, United States  
Associated to the scholarship:12/24629-2 - Insulin signaling pathway and HSR action in rodent longevity., BP.PD


The genus Mycoplasma contains the smallest organisms capable of autonomous replication. Although some mycoplasmas can live innocuously within their host some of them can cause significant disease in humans, and to date there are no vaccines available. Most pathogenic species cause slowly progressive, chronic infections of mucosal surfaces, primarily the respiratory and urogenital tract. Most elicit a strong inflammatory response, contributing to lesion severity. Nevertheless, little is known about the pathogenic mechanisms for most species, and functional analysis of mycoplasmas has fallen far short of that of other bacteria. Greater understanding of bacterial pathogenicity may provide novel therapeutic and prophylactic approaches. Also, improving diagnostic tests is important to development of more effective disease control. Thus, the specific aims of this research proposal are: 1) Implement a novel invertebrate model in waxworm larvae of Galleria mellonella to address Mycoplasma pathogenicity. 2) Develop a fluorescent reporter gene system for transforming M. pulmonis to permit in vivo monitoring during the course of infection. 3) Develop a riboprobe for improved Mycoplasma detection in fixed tissues using the 16S rRNA gene as a target. We expect the results from this study will develop an alternative model for investigation of the innate immune response to these pathogens that does not require animal use and implement new tools to elucidate the dynamics of mycoplasma infections. Accordingly, experiments are designed to allow the direct in vivo monitoring of mycoplasma adhesion, invasion and survival; and to provide the tools to facilitate the diagnostic testing of the mechanisms involved in colonization and persistence.