Specific Targeting of Antimicrobial Resistant Strains in situ using Targeted-Antibacterial-Plasmids (STARS-TAP)





The global spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) among pathogenic bacteria is recognized as one of the biggest concerns in public health and a research priority in microbiology.

Drug-resistance increases exponentially for certain bacterial organisms and is becoming the main threat to human health worldwide. As a consequence, national and international authorities have emphasized the need to taking a broad, coordinated approach to develop new antimicrobial strategies to fight against drug-resistant bacteria across multiple sectors such as human health and animal health, agriculture and environment1 (i.e. ‘One health’ major challenge).

The STARS-TAP research program aims at developing an innovative non-antibiotic antibacterial methodology to specifically target AMR strains from natural bacterial communities in several ecosystems in situ. The proposed methodology is based on Targeted-Antibacterial-Plasmids (TAPs) that use DNA conjugation to deliver CRISPR/Cas systems exerting a strain-specific antibacterial activity. If successful, our research would represent a real breakthrough for clinical and environmental microbiology, and open new options for the elimination of AMR strains from various ecosystems. This unexplored and versatile strategy complementary to antibiotic treatments holds the potential to be used for preventive decolonization purposes, or even in agriculture to tackle AMR prevalence in amended soils.

Project partners

  • Christian Lesterlin, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, France (Coordinator)
  • Pierre Bogaerts, UCL – Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium
  • Gregory Jubelin, French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment, France
  • Anna Marzec-Grzadziel, Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation – State Research Institute, Poland
  • William Couet, French National Institute of Health and Medical Research, France