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Protein that kills anti-biotic resistant strain of bacteria

Date: 14 October 2019 Tags: Biotechnology

Issue

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Pune have discovered novel protein targets that can be used by candidate drug molecules to kill antibiotic-resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus, including vancomycin-resistant S. Aureus.

 

Background

Antibiotic resistance is the ability of a microorganism to withstand the effects of an antibiotic. Antibiotic resistance evolves naturally via natural selection through random mutation, but it could also be engineered by applying an evolutionary stress on a population.

 

Details

  • The protein targets identified are crucial for the growth and survival of the bacteria.

  • S. aureus are less likely to cause mutations in them to confer drug-resistance.

  • Any drug candidate that can bind to the targets will be able to inhibit the protein from functioning leading to eventual death of S. aureus, including the drug-resistant ones.

  • The researchers used a small molecule (quinone epoxide) and attached an indole residue to it to increase the ability of the molecule to cross the cell barrier of the bacteria and bind to the proteins.

  • The small molecule binds itself to multiple proteins, including those that are crucial for growth and survival of the bacteria. These proteins are crucial as they bind to the DNA and activate it for normal cellular functioning.

  • The small molecule was found to bind to a particular amino acid (cysteine) that is very important for many catalytic functions in the cell.

  • Inhibiting the functioning of this amino acid can have a cascading effect leading to death of the bacteria.