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Technique Identifies New Drug and Vaccine Targets in Record Time

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) researchers have devised a new method called Tn-seq for rapidly identifying genes that are crucial for survival of bacteria ā€“ cutting the time it takes to pinpoint promising new vaccine and drug targets from years to weeks.

In an article published in the September 20, 2009, issue of the journal Nature Methods, HHMI investigator Andrew Camilli and colleagues Tim van Opijnen and Kip L. Bodi report that they have used their Tn-seq method to identify genes essential for the survival of Streptococcus pneumoniae, the bacteria that cause pneumonia and meningitis. In addition, they report the use of Tn-seq to rapidly map gene interaction networks for essential cellular processes. The research provides a better understanding of the physiology of that pathogen, and should aid in developing better vaccines and antibiotics against pathogens that kill millions worldwide, says Camilli, who is at Tufts University.

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