The aim of the Nottingham iGEM 2018 team’s project, called Clostridium dTox; it’s not so difficile was to engineer a C. difficile bacteriophage (phage), to produce factors that would suppress toxin production.
They demonstrated that the latest gene-editing techniques could be used to repress expression of both toxin genes (tcdA and tcdB) by targeting their mRNA.
The ultimate goal is a C. difficile-specific bacteriophage therapeutic which stops toxin production in those cells that are infected with the phage, converting them into health-promoting probiotics. Unlike antibiotics, phage cause no collateral damage to the native gut microbiome.
The 2018 team was awarded a prestigious Gold Medal at the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition in Boston, USA.
The team was also nominated at iGEM for ‘Best New Composite Part’. A composite part is a functional unit of DNA consisting of two or more basic parts assembled together.
For the duration of their project the team were embedded within BBSRC/EPSRC Synthetic Biology Research Centre (SBRC) at Nottingham.
Read more about the project: Clostridium dTox; it’s not so difficile.