CORDIS - EU research results

Decrypting Mycobacterium cytochrome P450 (CYP) physiological functions by testing hypotheses emitted form large-scale comparative genomics analysis

Project description

Novel molecular targets against Mycobacteria

Antimicrobial resistance is increasing in prevalence affecting various bacteria, including Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Profoundly, this necessitates the development of novel effective drugs. The project deCrYPtion, funded by the EU, proposes to target the cytochrome P450 (CYP) family of proteins as a treatment strategy. The main goal is to provide physiological information on a number of CYPs that have yet to be functionally characterised. Scientists will analyse the CYPs encoded by Mycobacterium species and link their function to specific biological pathways. deCrYPtion results will lead to the identification of novel drug targets against the Mycobacterium genus.


More than 190 species belong to the Mycobacterium genus. Among those, several are pathogenic to human and animals. The high number of human lives lost and the economic consequences of livestock infection are important incentives in the control and eradication of the responsible organisms. M. tuberculosis, one of the causative agents of tuberculosis (TB), is the most problematic representative: in 2016, 1.7 million deaths worldwide have been attributed to TB. Like for other infectious organisms, antibiotic resistances have appeared in Mycobacterium. Thus, there is a fundamental need to develop new antimycobacterial drugs. The inhibition of enzymes belonging to the Cytochrome P450 (CYP) protein family has been shown to suppresses the growth of several Mycobacterium species, making CYPs targets for drug development. Unfortunately, most CYPs are considered orphan: proteins for which no physiological function is known. The deCrYPtion action aims to define the physiological function of a selected set of mycobacterial CYPs. It will prove determinant in the development of new antibiotics. I will perform a large-scale comparative genomics analysis of the CYPs encoded by Mycobacterium species, in order to define orthologous groups and identify, for each, conserved partners and pathway context. This approach is extremely powerful (even if not frequently used) and allow to propose physiological functions, based on the information obtained. Specific CYPs to be characterized will be selected based on a set of stringent considerations, including their potential as drug targets. A preliminary analysis illustrates the approach that will be used. A combination of complementary biochemical, genetics and physiological experiments will be performed to validate the hypotheses generated. deCrYPtion will be undertaken within the Centre for Cytochrome P450 Biodiversity, under the supervision of Prof Steven Kelly, at Swansea University (Wales, United Kingdom).


Net EU contribution
€ 212 933,76
SA2 8PP Swansea
United Kingdom

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Wales West Wales and The Valleys Swansea
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 212 933,76