Navigation Links
Fighting antibiotic resistance with 'molecular drill bits'
Date:3/17/2014

DALLAS, March 17, 2014 In response to drug-resistant "superbugs" that send millions of people to hospitals around the world, scientists are building tiny, "molecular drill bits" that kill bacteria by bursting through their protective cell walls. They presented some of the latest developments on these drill bits, better known to scientists as antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), at the 247th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world's largest scientific society.

The meeting, which features more than 10,000 scientific reports across disciplines from energy to medicine, continues here through Thursday.

One of the researchers in the search for new ways to beat pathogenic bacteria is Georges Belfort, Ph.D. He and his team have been searching for a new therapy against the bacteria that cause tuberculosis (TB). It's a well-known, treatable disease, but resistant strains are cropping up. The World Health Organization estimates that about 170,000 people died from multidrug-resistant TB in 2012.

"If the bacteria build resistance to all current treatments, you're dead in the water," said Belfort, who is at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

To avoid this dire scenario, scientists are developing creative ways to battle the disease. In ongoing research, Belfort's group together with his wife, Marlene Belfort, and her group at the University at Albany are trying to dismantle bacteria from within. They also decided to attack it from the outside.

In their search for a way to do this, they came upon AMPs. Although these naturally occurring, short strings of amino acids are not new all classes of organisms from humans to bacteria produce them as part of their natural defense strategy the fight against drug-resistant pathogens has heightened attention on these protective molecules.

Researchers began studying them in earnest in the 1980s. By 2010, they had identified nearly 1,000 unique AMPs from many sources, including fly larvae, frog skin and mammalian immune system cells. The molecules come in different shapes, lengths and with other varying traits. But one thing they all have in common is that they somehow break through bacterial cell walls, the tough outer layers that provide structural support and protection. When Belfort found out about AMPs' mode of action, he aptly dubbed them "molecular drill bits."

Intrigued by their potential, Belfort scoured recent work on the peptides and discovered a database filtering technique developed by another group, reported in 2012. It's a kind of design-your-own-AMP model.

Using the database filtering technology, Belfort's lab designed and synthesized three novel AMPs designed to drill into the thick walls of tuberculosis cells. When they tested them in the lab against Mycobacterium tuberculosis and another similar bacteria, all three AMPs killed the bacteria. One worked better than the others but not as well as kanamycin, which is one of several antibiotics in the arsenal against TB that some strains have developed resistance against.

Belfort's team is now focused on improving their designs and understanding exactly how AMPs work. The group is also developing a laboratory test that will allow them to tell within hours rather than weeks if an AMP is working against Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

If developed into pharmaceuticals, AMPs could have the additional benefit of overcoming the very challenge they're designed to meet: drug-resistance. AMPs attack bacteria's walls, or cell membranes, which have been conserved through a long history of evolution.

"It's going to be much more difficult for a bacterium that's been around for millions of years to reconfigure its membrane," Belfort said. "That's the core protective structure that has helped it survive this long."


'/>"/>
Contact: Michael Bernstein
214-853-8005 (Dallas Press Center, March 14-19)
202-872-6042
m_bernstein@acs.org

Contact: Katie Cottingham, Ph.D.
214-853-8005 (Dallas Press Center, March 14-19)
301-775-8455
k_cottingham@acs.org

American Chemical Society


Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Preventing home invasions means fighting side-by-side for coral-dwelling crabs and shrimp
2. Study finds cancer-fighting goodness in cholesterol
3. Trial launched into curry chemicals cancer-fighting properties
4. Canadian girl, 16, invents disease-fighting, anti-aging compound using tree particles
5. Fighting bacterias strength in numbers
6. UGA study reveals flu-fighting role for well-known immune component
7. La Jolla institute identifies critical cell in fighting E. coli infection
8. Method to prevent rejection of disease-fighting proteins described in Human Gene Therapy journal
9. Nematodes with pest-fighting potential identified
10. Research finds novel airborne germ-killing oral spray effective in fighting colds and flu
11. Fighting melanomas attraction to the brain
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/23/2017)... GENOA, Italy , May 23, 2017  Hunova, the first robotic ... and trunk, has been officially launched in Genoa, Italy ... Europe and the USA . The ... launched on the market by the IIT spin-off Movendo Technology thanks to ... view the Multimedia News Release, please click: ...
(Date:4/24/2017)... WASHINGTON , April 24, 2017 ... counsel and partner with  Identity Strategy Partners, LLP ... "With or without President Trump,s March 6, ... Foreign Terrorist Entry , refugee vetting can be instilled ... refugee resettlement. (Right now, all refugee applications are ...
(Date:4/13/2017)... SANTA MONICA, Calif. , April 13, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... New York will feature emerging and ... Innovation Summits. Both Innovation Summits will run alongside the ... variety of speaker sessions, panels and demonstrations focused on ... east coast,s largest advanced design and manufacturing event will ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... For the second time in ... STEM Mentoring Award. Representatives of the FirstHand program travelled to Washington, D.C. Tuesday, ... , US2020’s mission is to change the trajectory of STEM education in America ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... CRUZ, Calif. , Oct. 10, 2017 ... grant from the NIH to develop RealSeq®-SC (Single Cell), ... kit for profiling small RNAs (including microRNAs) from single ... Analysis Program highlights the need to accelerate development of ... "New techniques for measuring ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... Oct. 9, 2017  BioTech Holdings announced today ... which its ProCell stem cell therapy prevents limb ... The Company, demonstrated that treatment with ProCell resulted ... saved as compared to standard bone marrow stem ... resulted in reduction of therapeutic effect.  ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... 09, 2017 , ... The Giving Tree Wellness Center announces ... needs of consumers who are incorporating medical marijuana into their wellness and health ... As operators of two successful Valley dispensaries, The Giving Tree’s two founders, Lilach ...
Breaking Biology Technology: