Acne vulgaris is a common skin disease, affecting 85% of adolescents and young adults aged 11-30 years. Having acne often affects the patient's social and/or psychological health. This year, we intend to fight acne with dermcidin-derived peptides, short anionic antimicrobial peptides (AAMP), which are secreted by the human sweat glands. They - especially one peptide: DCD-1L - have been shown to have antimicrobial activity against Propionibacterium acnes as well as many other difficult bacteria. Therefore, dermcidin would be an ideal agent to be used in acne care products. Severe acne cases have been associated with a reduced dermcidin expression on the skin. Thus, it could be claimed that treating acne with dermcidin is a "natural" treatment.
The primary aim of our project is to produce DCD-1L in genetically modified E.coli, and to attempt to immobilize DCD-1L on cellulose-based materials. The end product could be used for acne products.
The modelling part of our project will consist of molecular dynamic simulations. Our simulated systems will include DCD-1L in solvent, as well as the hexamer embedded in the phosholipid bilayer. We are particularly interested in the effect of the lipid bilayer composition on the peptide interaction and structure.
You can now check our project wiki, which documents our laboratory, modelling and human practices work from Here.
The broader purpose of our project is to promote and increase understanding of synthetic biology in Finland and around the world. Synthetic biology is a new field of science and technology that combines biology with engineering principles. The basic principle is to design new genes, genetic devices, metabolic routes and entire organisms to create novel products and production pathways. Standardization is also a key component of this process, which is why one goal of the iGEM competition is to maintain the "BioBrick part registry" - a library of standardized genetic parts.
Synthetic biology has the potential to provide valuable solutions to many of today's problems. However, media and the general public still see genetically modified organisms more as a threat than a potential. We work responsibly and take necessary safety and ethics considerations into account when making decisions and planning laboratory work. We conduct research in such a way that is safe for us and the environment. Our solutions will be tested to be safe also outside the laboratory setting.