According to the World Health Organization, multidrug resistance is one of the ten major threats to global public health and continues to raise fears as patients continue to be infected by various nosocomial bacteria. The majority of these antibiotic resistant infections are caused by a class of bacteria known as ESKAPE pathogens, and while current research focuses on eliminating these bacteria, this particular approach places selective evolutionary pressure on bacteria to develop antibiotic-resistance, contributing to this rapidly worsening problem. Additionally, the tendency of these bacteria to form biofilms- thin resilient films of bacterial communities that adhere to surfaces- makes them especially difficult to treat. As a result, novel solutions are required to address these concerns, with some research suggesting targeting the virulence of these bacteria or the stress response driving resistance. Antibiofilm peptide 1018, derived from a host defense peptide, has been shown to effectively reduce a single species biofilm’s stress response, thus allowing the biofilm to be more susceptible to antibiotic treatment. However, we hypothesize that a multispecies biofilm community will not have a complete reduction in stress response, thus allowing the biofilm to thrive in the face of antibiotic treatment. In our experiment, we intend to test how this peptide interacts with multispecies as compared to single species biofilms, as well as how lowering the bacterial stringent stress response will impact antibiotic susceptibility and susceptibility to interspecies competition.
Team members: Adewunmi Ade-Oyetayo, Katherine Regis, Vivian Zhang