Identifying biomarkers for Staphylococcus aureus contamination of platelet component

Staphylococcus aureus is a major cause of transfusion reactions in platelet concentrate (PC) recipients, due to missed detection during routine PC screening with culture methods, and its ability to produce toxins in PCs. Biomarkers can either inform of S. aureus contamination in PCs or indicate platelet activation. In my ongoing research at Dr. Ramirez` lab, I have detected exotoxins in S. aureus contaminated PCs. In this proposal, I aim to identify biomarkers for contamination of PCs with S. aureus, with the following objectives. (1) To study expression of S. aureus toxin genes produced in PCs using whole genome and RNA sequencing approaches. (2) To investigate release of platelet cytokines and specific microRNAs during PC storage using cytokine assays and microRNAs sequencing. (3) To investigate biomarker potentials of S. aureus toxins, platelet cytokines and miRNAs, employing mutagenesis and titration procedures. This study will use novel processes to detect bacterial contaminants in PCs, with the goal of increasing PC safety and minimize transfusion reactions. Furthermore, my studies targetting platelet immune response to S. aureus in PCs may lead to the discovery of biomarkers that can predict platelet activation and functionality during PC storage, even if bacteria are not detected during culture screening.
Principal Investigator / Supervisor
Co-Investigator(s) / Trainee
CHI, Sylvia Ighem
Canadian Blood Services
Postdoctoral Fellowship Program
Total Amount Awarded
Project Start Date
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