A number of pathogenic microorganisms, including, several NIAID Priority Pathogens, secrete virulence factors utilizing a novel pathway referred to as the type VI secretion system (T6SS). The main objective of this project is to develop inhibitors of T6SS that could lead to a new class of antimicrobial agents. Burkholderia thailandensis will be used to identify T6SS inhibitors compounds in a high throughput screen and these will be tested for interference with secretion in several category A-C select agents, including Burkholderia pseudomallei and Burkholderia mallei, causative agents of melioidosis and glanders, respectively. The candidate inhibitors of T6SS and their structural derivatives will be used in subsequent studies, which include demonstration of their efficacy in an animal model of melioidosis. The T6SS components, targeted by the active compounds will be identified. The work proposed in this project represents a logical pre-clinical development strategy for therapeutic agents targeting several agents of biological warfare and bioterrorism.

Public Health Relevance

The project is aimed at the identification of inhibitors a shared virulence mechanism in two NIAID Priority Pathogens, Burkholderia pseudomallei and Burkholderia mallei. The lack of a vaccines and the high mortality associated with B. pseudomallei and B. mallei infections, despite antibiotic treatment, enhances their utility as agents of biological warfare and bioterrorism. The proposed project is directed towards the development of novel anti-microbial agents and therefore it is a good fit with the main objectives of NERCE which seeks to promote the development of vaccines and therapeutics against select agents.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Specialized Center--Cooperative Agreements (U54)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZAI1)
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Harvard University
United States
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