Team:UiOslo Norway

Fast detection of vulvovaginal Candida albicans
infections using CRISPR/dCas9

Concept graphic

UiOslo Norway

Team picture with award

Awarded Best Diagnostic Project
Nominated Best Presentation

During their lifetime 75 % of women will experience a Candida albicans (C. albicans) infection, one of the most common vulvovaginal yeast infections. Currently there are no fast methods to detect whether an infection is caused by C. albicans or not. In addition, women may purchase over-the-counter antimycotics without knowing the cause of their infection. This contributes to the rise of antimycotic resistance, making treatment of future infections more difficult.

Based on previous projects, UiOslo Norway aims to develop a fast detection kit for C. albicans infections, using CRISPR/dCas9. Upon a suspected infection, a vaginal sample will be treated with glucanase to selectively lyse yeast cells walls, exposing the fungal DNA. Afterwards, modified dCas9 enzymes fused with split β-lactamase are added. Using specifically designed guide RNAs, the dCas9 complexes bind adjacently on C. albicans specific DNA sequences. This activates the β-lactamase to cleave its substrate nitrocefin, producing a colored product indicating the presence of C. albicans DNA.

Contact information: uioslonorway (at) gmail (dot) com