The group is focused in the design and engineering of novel molecules affecting targets located on the bacterial surface, as well as in the enhancement of their activity using avant-garde nanotechnological methods. More precisely, our efforts are directed to the inhibition or to the premature activation of the biological activity of the choline-binding protein (CBP) family of S. pneumoniae, with the perspective of driving the most promising compounds to preclinical stage.
To achieve this goal, we follow a three-stage approach:
1. Generation of new molecules, or reposition known drugs, from small organic molecules to peptides and full-length proteins. We characterize the affinity of target-ligand interaction and analyze their antimicrobial activity in vitro. On the basis of the results, we design and synthetize novel variants arising from the initial compounds, with the intention of increasing their antimicrobial effect.
2. Design and assay of supramolecular nanostructures harboring multiple copies of selected molecules, that behave as carriers or that enhance their antimicrobial activity by multivalency effects. These nanocompounds are carefully designed so that the minimal antibacterial dose is reduced by several orders of magnitude, reaching nanomolar concentrations.
3. Analyze the antimicrobial effect in vivo of generated compounds, by the estimation for the minimal inhibitory concentration and assays on animal models of disease, especially of pneumococcal origin.