Human Ribonucleases involved in host defence
Our lab is working on the development of novel antibiotics based on the structure-functional knowledge of human secretory RNases.
Novel drugs are urgently needed to combat the emergence of bacteria multiresistant species. Understanding and targeting antimicrobial resistance is one of the global health priorities. Our research group has a longstanding consolidated experience in the structure-functional characterization of human secreted RNases, a family of small cytotoxic proteins expressed by epithelial and blood cells upon infection. Host defence RNases belonging to a unique vertebrate specific gene family, show an unusual rapid evolution rate, a trait characteristic of innate immunity proteins, providing adaptation to an ever-changing pathogen exposed environment. Antimicrobial proteins have thus been selected through evolution to work as anti-infective agents against a wide variety of pathogens. We are currently pursuing the development of new scaffolds by structure-based design to engineer novel antibiotics. In particular, we are aiming to target bacterial resistance forms, as biofilm communities and macrophage dwelling bacteria.
Our research involves the following projects:
- Design of novel antimicrobial peptides against biofilms and macrophage intracellular bacteria
- Search for structural recognition patterns for RNA targeting
- Search for novel antibiotics to fight antimicrobial resistance