Dr. Elena Sineva Presents at ASM Microbe 2022

Dr. Elena Sineva Presents at ASM Microbe 2022

Dr. Elena Sineva Presents at ASM Microbe 2022

Dr. Elena Sineva, a scientist at the New Mexico Consortium, recently presented at the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Microbe 2022 Conference.

The ASM Microbe Symposium is important because the fields of clinical and environmental microbiology are rapidly evolving. Many discoveries in microbiology are occurring at the intersections of trans-disciplinary collaborations and they have never been more important than now. Recognizing various resistance mechanisms utilized by Gram-negative bacteria is essential in guiding treatment decisions in both medicine and agriculture. Ensuring optimal decisions requires a close collaboration and dialogue among the all stakeholders, farmers and microbiologists. This symposium was for scientists to review the latest achievements in all fields of microbiology.

This conference was held in Washington DC, June 9–13, 2022 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Dr. Sineva presented  her work titled, Design And Testing Of Citrus Derived α/β Peptides To Clear Candidatus Liberibacter Asiaticus Infection (Huanglongbing) In Citrus Plants.

Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas), the causative agent of Huanglongbing (HLB) in citrus, isconsidered a cause of the worldwide agricultural pandemic of citrus crops, leading to huge losses for US and world citrus industries. Currently, there are no available treatment options besides the elimination of infected trees. Antibiotic peptides are sustainable, safe, and affordable solutions in tackling CLas in infected plants.

In this work, Dr. Sineva and colleagues report the design and testing of citrus-derived peptides for the treatment of HLB. They designed and tested a combinatorial library of the antibacterial peptides using the α-helical and β-strands regions present in many citrus proteins possessing intrinsic antibacterial activity. While individually, α and β peptide segments are only weakly active, their antibacterial activity is strongly increased when they were combined in one peptide entity. Since CLas is unculturable, to obtain minimal inhibition concentrations they tested the peptides against culturable gram-negative bacteria. With selected highly active peptides, CLas clearance was demonstrated by qPCR using infected citrus leaves. They also examined the toxicity of the peptides against plant and human cells. They show that citrus-derived anti-CLas α/β peptides may be safe and effective antibacterial HLB treatment. The versatility and flexibility of the α/β peptide design may also address potential antibiotic resistance problems.

This research found that these anti-CLas peptide chimeras may provide sustainable, safe, and affordable tools for curing HLB.