- The first main objective in MARILIA is to develop a novel pathogen detection concept for water samples and to validate and demonstrate the assay in the relevant environment, thus paving the way an immediate application in the water and beverage industry. The assay must meet industrially relevant performance targets such as cost, sensitivity, specificity, simple handling, and time until results are obtained.
- The second main objective of MARILIA is to develop and implement in silico models that support the engineering of peptides and proteins in Adenita. The generation of new recombinant proteins and peptides is associated with the risk that unintended secondary structures are formed that lead to a non-functional protein. Modifications with oligonucleotide tags of such proteins further increase this risk. To reduce the number of such unwanted interactions and to minimize the laborious experimental protein engineering procedures, we will calculate molecular dynamics simulations of our DNA-tagged recombinant proteins. For this purpose, we have to generate a novel force field model that considers the covalent attachment of DNA to proteins. The in silico tools developed within MARILIA will significantly speed up the development of an industrially relevant assay for pathogen detection. The utility of these tools will be evaluated during the final phase of the project when the functional and non-functional recombinant proteins generated during MARILIA will be compared and the folding prediction analysed.
The two main objectives are directly linked to our ultimate goal: increasing the technology readiness level (TRL) of our pathogen detection concept to a degree where it becomes interesting for entrepreneurship. Consequently, in MARILIA, the consortium setup was planned in a way that helps to focus the technology development towards a fast economic exploitation.