Sunday, 23 July 2017

New antibiotic effective against drug-resistant bacteria

Scientists have discovered a new antibiotic effective against drug-resistant bacteria: pseudouridimycin. The new antibiotic is produced by a microbe found in a soil sample collected in Italy and was discovered by screening microbes from soil samples. The new antibiotic kills a broad spectrum of drug-sensitive and drug-resistant bacteria in a test tube and cures bacterial infections in mice.

Pseudouridimycin inhibits bacterial RNA polymerase, the enzyme responsible for bacterial RNA synthesis, through a binding site and mechanism that differ from those of rifampin, a currently used antibacterial drug that inhibits the enzyme. Because pseudouridimycin inhibits through a different binding site and mechanism than rifampin, pseudouridimycin exhibits no cross-resistance with rifampin, functions additively when co-administered by rifampin and, most important, has a spontaneous resistance rate that is just one-tenth the spontaneous resistance rate of rifampin.

Pseudouridimycin functions as a nucleoside-analog inhibitor of bacterial RNA polymerase, meaning that it mimics a nucleoside-triphosphate (NTP), the chemical "building block" that bacterial RNA polymerase uses to synthesize RNA. The new antibiotic binds tightly to the NTP binding site on bacterial RNA polymerase and, by occupying the NTP binding site, prevents NTPs from binding.

Pseudouridimycin is the first nucleoside-analog inhibitor that selectively inhibits bacterial RNA polymerase but not human RNA polymerases.


Sonia I. Maffioli, Yu Zhang, David Degen, Thomas Carzaniga, Giancarlo Del Gatto, Stefania Serina, Paolo Monciardini, Carlo Mazzetti, Paola Guglierame, Gianpaolo Candiani, Alina Iulia Chiriac, Giuseppe Facchetti, Petra Kaltofen, Hans-Georg Sahl, Gianni Dehò, Stefano Donadio, Richard H. Ebright. Antibacterial Nucleoside-Analog Inhibitor of Bacterial RNA Polymerase. Cell, 2017; 169 (7): 1240 DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2017.05.042

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle