Capturing Host-Microbiome Chemical Communication

Type of Award: Catalyst
Date Awarded: March 2017
Award End Date: February 2019
Amount Awarded: $ 249,652.00
PI(s): Laura Sanchez, UIC; Mark Mandel, NU;

Abstract: A major area of research is now dedicated to how beneficial bacteria—our "micro biome"—are required for nutrient acquisition, immune and tissue development, and to preferentially occupy niches that otherwise can be overtaken by pathogens. Bacteria dedicate up to 25 % of their genetic material to chemistry, but little is known about how bacteria use chemistry in a host. Therefore a major question now is to understand how chemical communication between the host and colonizing microbe mediate specific interactions. This proposal uses a model system and cutting-edge chemical methods to ask specifically (1) How does the chemical signature of a specific bacterium impact its ability to colonize the host, and (2) What are the key chemical signatures at the host interface during the dynamic process of bacterial colonization? This proposal integrates the technological expertise of the Sanchez Laboratory and the animal and genetic expertise of the Mandel Laboratory.