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Research could put penicillin back in battle against antibiotic resistant bugs that kill millions
Date:3/12/2008

mesh that contributes to the bacterial cell wall. The presence of high levels of these dipeptide bridges in the peptidoglycan of Streptococcus pneumoniae is a pre-requisite for high level penicillin resistance.

The Warwick team were able to replicate the activity of MurM in a test tube, allowing them to define the chemistry of the MurM reaction in detail and understand every key step of how Streptococcus pneumoniae deploys MurM to gain this resistance.

The results will allow the Warwick team, and any interested pharmaceutical researchers, to target the MurM reaction in Streptococcus pneumoniae in a way which will lead to the development of drugs which will disrupt the resistance of Streptococcus pneumoniae to penicillin.

The same research also offers exciting possibilities to disrupt the antibiotic resistance of MRSA which uses similarly constructed peptide bridges in the construction of the peptidoglycan component of its cell wall. Therefore, thanks to this research, even MRSA could now be opened up to treatment by penicillin.

A further spin-off from this new MurM research, is that the Warwick led researchers are also able to readily reproduce every precursor step the bacterial cell uses to create its peptidoglycan. The tools developed at Warwick open up each step of the creation of the peptidoglycan (MurA, MurB, MurC etc, etc) used by an array of dangerous bacteria. This provides a valuable collection of targets for pharmaceutical companies seeking ways of disrupting antibiotic resistance in such bacteria.

The University of Warwick part of the research team have now established a new network of academics from the fields of chemistry, biology and medicine, as well as pharmaceutical companies to share and exploit this new treasure trove of targets which could help create a range of new designer antibiotic based treatments targeted at a range of bacteria that can cause significant health problems.


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Contact: Dr Adrian Lloyd
A.J.Lloyd@warwick.ac.uk
44-024-765-22568
University of Warwick
Source:Eurekalert

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