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Cantilever sensory array: The Rosetta Stone for antibiotic resistance?
Date:10/25/2013

On October 25, JoVE, the Journal of Visualized Experiments will publish a novel technique to confront the problem of antibiotic resistance. According to Dr. Joseph Ndieyira, one of the developers involved in the technique, "The use of this technology will allow scientists to understand how antibiotics work, how bacteria develop resistance, and what molecular mechanisms could be exploited to get around their defense mechanisms."

"We report a novel, nanomechanical approach to investigate the workings of vancomycin ... one of the last powerful antibiotics used to combat increasingly-resistant infections such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)," said Ndieyira.

Using tiny cantilevers (or beams) no wider then a human hair, Ndieyira and his colleagues take advantage of the cellular stress that antibiotics, when effective, impose on a target bacteria's cell wall. Such stress in turn causes the cantilevers to bend. Using lasers, the bending can then be measuredproviding tremendous insight into the drug-target interaction.

According to Ndieyira, the cantilever technology confronts a growing problem of multidrug-resistant hospital superbugs. It could aid in the drug discovery process by preventing lead-drug candidates from being disregarded due to a lack of equipment with sufficient sensitivity, and its hope is to jumpstart an already stagnated drug-pipeline by providing this sensitivity in an efficient mannerthe cantilever method can simultaneously measure and track a variety of drug-bacteria interactions in real time.

"The cantilever assays provide a resolution that simply cannot be obtained with conventional methods, such as those using fluorescence," said Ndieyira, "For example, cantilever sensors can resolve forces of ~10 pN, which is sensitive enough to detect the rupturing of individual hydrogen bonds." According to the article, a single hydrogen molecule can be the difference between dru
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Contact: Rachel Greene
rachel.greene@jove.com
617-250-8451
The Journal of Visualized Experiments
Source:Eurekalert  

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Cantilever sensory array: The Rosetta Stone for antibiotic resistance?
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