G-Q-reat ESKAPE Druggability of G-quadruplexes, promising modulators for antimicrobial resistance


Project data

Funding Entity: European Commission

Call: HORIZON-MSCA-2022-PF-01


UNISI Principal Investigator: Stefano Ciaco

Department: Department of Biotechnology, chemistry and pharmacy

Start date: 1 September 2023 – End date: 31 August 2025



The antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is an underrated problem promoted by widespread misuse and massive use of antibiotics. Thus, the health systems are facing enormous costs to treat nosocomial infections due to AMR bacteria. In particular, six highly virulent bacteria (E.S.K.A.P.E.) are the main responsible for worldwide nosocomial infections. In the last years, our research strategies to discover and develop new clinically relevant antibiotics lacked effectiveness. As a result, we are unable to efficiently treat AMR infections and are unprepared to face an AMR bacteria outbreak. One possible strategy is to target bacteria G-quadruplexes (bGQs) which are highly conserved DNA/RNA secondary structures pivotal for bacteria duplication, transcription and translation. This strategy is particular effective because, when a new pathogen emerges, its DNA/RNA genome is first disclosed through sequencing, hence the ability of quickly designing new drug candidates based only on this information will be a powerful tool to face a new epidemic/pandemic. Furthermore, the human GQs (hGQs) were largely investigated as possible target for anticancer treatment thus the interest in bGQs raised later and with less intensity than hGQs. In addition, most GQs modulators bind G-quartets top by π-stacking interactions and the druggability of GQs loops/grooves was still not addressed. In this context, the multidisciplinary of G-Q-reat ESKAPE project aims to provide a novel and effective strategy to contrast AMR by targeting bGQs and to expand the knowledge on bGQs.



This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme under GA No 101106871