Tuesday, 5 May 2015

New strategies to target drug-resistant pathogens

By engineering antibacterial enzymes, Dartmouth investigators led by Karl Griswold, PhD are using novel strategies to target the prevalent drug-resistant bacterium Staphylococcus aureus. Recent papers in FEMS Microbiology Letters and Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology describe their findings from a genome mining effort seeking novel antibacterial agents. A third paper published in ACS Chemical Biology examines redesigned versions of human lysozyme, a broad-spectrum antibacterial enzyme.

In the studies on Staphylococcus aureus, Griswold's team showed that a bacteria's own molecular machinery for cell wall synthesis and remodelling can be turned against itself. Using genetic engineering, the enzymes can be modified such that, when applied from the outside, they attack and kill the bacteria from which they were originally cloned. The key is using bioinformatics to identify a bacterium’s endogenous "autolysins," which are enzymes involved in physiological processes such as cell division, and then leveraging molecular engineering strategies to convert the autolysins into potent antibacterial agents.

For further details, see: Medical news

Posted by Tim Sandle