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BioMAP screening procedure could streamline search for new antibiotics
Date:11/26/2012

Researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, have developed a new strategy for finding novel antibiotic compounds, using a diagnostic panel of bacterial strains for screening chemical extracts from natural sources.

Public health officials warn of a looming antibiotic crisis due to the steady increase in antibiotic resistance and a dramatic decline in the development of new antibiotics. Most currently available antibiotics are derived from natural compounds produced by microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi. New antibiotics developed by drug companies are often synthetically tailored variations of existing classes of antibiotics. To combat the problem of antibiotic resistance, however, researchers desperately want to find antibiotics with completely novel structures and modes of action.

The new screening procedure, called BioMAP (antibiotic mode of action profile), promises to streamline the discovery of new antibiotics from natural sources by providing a low-cost, high-throughput platform for identifying compounds with novel antibiotic properties.

"If you take a library of natural product extracts and screen them against a bacterial target, you will find a lot of antibacterial compounds, but almost all of them will be known structures," said Roger Linington, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry at UC Santa Cruz. "BioMAP is a new way to look at antibiotic activity so that you're not wasting time and energy chasing things that turn out to be well-studied compounds of little therapeutic value."

Linington's lab focuses on marine natural products--mostly microorganisms isolated from marine sediments--as a source of lead compounds for drug discovery. The BioMAP project was led by Weng Ruh Wong, who joined the lab as a postdoctoral fellow in the QB3-Malaysia Program. Wong is first author of a paper presenting the BioMAP screening procedure published in the November 21 issue of Chemistry & Biology.
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Contact: Tim Stephens
stephens@ucsc.edu
831-459-2495
University of California - Santa Cruz
Source:Eurekalert

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