Non-Coding RNA (ncRNA) Regulation of the Expression of the Pertussis Vaccine Antigen, Pertactin

Pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, is an acute respiratory disease caused by B. pertussis. Despite widespread vaccination, pertussis remains a public health burden. Australia has just experienced a prolonged pertussis epidemic with nearly 40,000 cases at its peak in 2011.

Pertactin is one of the main antigen components of the pertussis acellular vaccine in Australia conferring protective immunity. Our study has shown that a large proportion of currently circulating B. pertussis strains in Australia no longer express the pertactin antigen. Some pertactin deficient isolates still express mRNA, suggesting that expression is silenced post-transcriptionally. This project will investigate the role of ncRNA regulation in the silencing of pertactin production. This project involves molecular biology techniques and bioinformatics analysis.

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