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Cysteine biosynthesis and infection, gonorrhoea’s weak link?

42 months
Approved budget:
Dr Joanna Hicks
Health issue:
Obstetric complications/perinatal care
Proposal type:
Emerging Researcher First Grant
Lay summary
Neisseria gonorrhoeae is an obligate human pathogen which causes the sexually transmitted infection gonorrhoea. Gonorrhoea is now a global health problem due to the high number of strains resistant to all frontline antibiotics, and strains with reduced susceptibility to antibiotics have been detected in New Zealand. Targeting the pathogen’s ability to synthesise amino acids is a new and promising route for the development of new antibiotics. Synthesis of the amino acid cysteine is necessary for the bacterium to make cellular components for the establishment of infection. Our research aims to understand the biochemistry of cysteine synthesis, which will lead to targeted inhibitor design of the key cysteine biosynthesis enzymes, ultimately providing new antimicrobials for the treatment of gonorrhoea and/or enhancing the efficacy of existing antibiotics to help combat antibiotic resistance.