Navigation Links
UNC scientists unveil a superbug's secret to antibiotic resistance
Date:1/30/2013

Worldwide, many strains of the bacterium Staphyloccocus aureus, commonly known as staph infections, are already resistant to all antibiotics except vancomycin. But as bacteria are becoming resistant to this once powerful antidote, S. aureus has moved one step closer to becoming an unstoppable killer. Now, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have not only identified the mechanism by which vancomycin resistance spreads from one bacterium to the next, but also have suggested ways to potentially stop the transfer.

The work, led by Matthew Redinbo, professor of chemistry at UNC's College of Arts and Sciences, addresses the looming threat of incurable staph infections a global public health problem that has mobilized scientists across disciplines to work together to identify the Achilles heel of these antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

"We used to live in a world where antibiotics could readily cure bacterial disease," said Redinbo. "But this is clearly no longer the case. We need to understand how bacteria obtain resistance to drugs like vancomycin, which served for decades as the 'antibiotic of last resort.'"

In his work, Redinbo and his team targeted a bacterial enzyme known as Nicking Enzyme in Staphyloccoccus, or NES. The enzyme has long been known to interact with plasmids, circular pieces of double-stranded DNA within bacteria that are physically separate from the bacterial chromosome. Plasmids commonly contain antibiotic-resistance genes, and can make the machinery necessary to transfer these genes from an infected bacterium to an uninfected one.

By revealing the crystal structure of NES, the researchers found that this enzyme nicks one strand of the plasmid at a very specific siteand in a very specific way. It turns out that NES forms two loops that work together to pinch one strand of the plasmid at a particular groove in the DNA to cut it. This strand is now free to leave its host and transfer to a nearby bacterium, making them resistant to vancomycin.

Moreover, Redinbo was able to capture a snapshot of the enzyme bound to the plasmid. "As a structural biologist, it's all about the pictures for me," said Redinbo. "And it was this picture that confirmed the precise location on which NES works."

With this information, Redinbo knew the groove on the DNA that the enzyme recognize and could design a small synthetic molecule that would sit on this groove and block NES. Teaming up with colleagues at the California Institute of Technology, Redinbo did just that. The molecule prevented NES from nicking the DNA, which could prevent the resistance genes from spreading.

According to Redinbo and colleagues, this small synthetic molecule could help guide future research aimed at developing effective therapies for strains of antibiotic-resistant S. aureus.

"This is really exciting for us," said Redinbo, who is also a professor at UNC's School of Medicine and a member of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. "It opens the door for potentially stopping the spread of antibiotic resistanceand that's exactly what we need in this post-antibiotic era."

The work was published this week in the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


'/>"/>

Contact: Thania Benios
thania_benios@unc.edu
919-962-8596
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Scientists learn more about how inhibitory brain cells get excited
2. New target to stop cancers spread discovered by Georgia State scientists
3. Scientists create 1-step gene test for mitochondrial diseases
4. Scientists Complete 1st Map of Emotional Intelligence in the Brain
5. Singapore scientists led by A*STARs GIS identify 4 mechanisms that contribute to gastric cancers
6. National Cancer Centre Singapore scientists discover p53 mutation hinders cancer treatment response
7. HIV-Like Virus Arose in Primates Millions of Years Ago, Scientists Say
8. Scientists Link More Genes to Common Brain Tumor
9. Temple scientists find cancer-causing virus in the brain, potential connection to epilepsy
10. Scientists identify new strategy to fight deadly infection in cystic fibrosis
11. Social Scientists call for more effective teaching in Higher Education
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/12/2017)... Orleans, LA (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... centers in the U.S., announced today its plans to open a flagship location in ... will occupy the former Rooms To Go store next to Office Depot in the ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... ... The American College of Medical Informatics (ACMI) will present the 2017 Morris F. ... AMIA’s Annual Symposium in Washington, D.C. AMIA’s Annual Symposium is taking place ... the field of medical informatics, this prestigious award is presented to an individual whose ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... Restoration, has recently contributed a medical article to the newly revamped Cosmetic ... Mohebi’s article spotlights the hair transplant procedure known as Follicular Unit Extraction ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... Wesley Chapel, FL (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... Chapel is holding a treadmill relay – Miles by Moonlight to raise money for ... by donating $300 or more. , Teams will work together to keep their ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... property taxes a year. In some states—like New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Texas, ... many overseas retirement havens have extremely low property-tax rates, which contributes to the ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/2/2017)... Denmark , Oct. 2, 2017 The Rebound ... in the struggle to reverse the tide of prescription drug ... for regulating their medicine intake and stepping down their dosage ... set to launch in December 2017; the first 100,000 people ... Learn more at http://www.rebound-solution.com/ ...
(Date:9/27/2017)... , Sept. 27, 2017  DarioHealth Corp. (NASDAQ: DRIO), a leading global ... that its MyDario product is expected to appear on The Dr. Oz ... Dr. Oz Show airs in your area: http://www.doctoroz.com/page/where-watch-dr-oz-show ... The nine-time Emmy award-winning, The Dr. Oz Show kicked ... The segment features ...
(Date:9/22/2017)... Sept. 22, 2017  As the latest Obamacare repeal ... Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Lindsey Graham ... the medical device industry is in an odd place. ... the 2.3% excise tax on medical device sales passed ... want covered patients, increased visits and hospital customers with ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: