Trojan Horse – an alternative method of diagnosing biofilm-related prosthetic joint infections


Trojan Horse – University of Calgary iGEM – Calgary,  AB

Improving the method of diagnosis of bacterial infections in prosthetic joints.

Team Grade Level: Undergraduate
Team Experience Level: Advanced
STEM Focus: Synthetic Biology


Prosthetic joint infections (PJI) are a complication of prosthesis installations commonly due to the formation of Staphylococcus aureus (S.aureus) biofilms on the prosthesis. Conventionally culturing biofilm samples in PJI have a low sensitivity because the extracellular polymeric substance (EPS) prevents sampling of the pathogen. The lack of reliable diagnostic measures for PJI promotes the overuse of antibiotics and antibiotic-resistant disease. To combat this issue, Trojan Horse only requires a sample of the EPS rather than the pathogen, making it a simple and sustainable PJI diagnosis alternative. Using an autoinducing protein to cause the release of the chosen biomarker, eDNA, into the EPS eliminates the need to directly sample the pathogen, increasing the diagnostic efficiency. The high specificity of Trojan Horse is attributed to the use of antibody fragments that attach to eDNA-binding proteins, which are unique to S.aureus species, producing results in minutes.



Posted on

June 15, 2022

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