Multi drug resistance

Multi-drug resistant bacteria have become a global health concern and the doctors are worried about common infections becoming untreatable in this century due to absence of drugs. However, a new kind of antibiotic has been developed for the first time in the world that has the potential to limit multi-drug resistance by targeting and disrupting key elements in bacterial cells, highlighted a recent media report. The research was spearheaded by the Institute for Glycomics, Griffith University in collaboration with scientists from Queensland University of Technology, Indiana University (USA) and Dezhou University (China).

Professor Yaoqi Zhou from Griffith’s Institute for Glycomics, the corresponding author of the research, reportedly said: “The new type of antibiotic worked by destroying the structure of essential protein to disable its function. Most existing antibiotics work by blocking the function of essential proteins.”

“The way most antibiotics stop key functions in bacteria is that they bind to the surface of an essential protein so that it is unable to perform its normal function. Our technique with this new antibiotic approach is different; instead of binding to the surface of the protein, we disrupt the structure of the protein, which stops it functioning,” he added, according to the media report. The study, “Self-derived Structure-Disrupting Peptides as Antibiotics” was published in The FASEB Journal.

Researchers say that this new process is less vulnerable to antibiotic resistance. “Indeed, while we saw 500-fold resistance develop to a commonly used antibiotic over 30 days, there was no resistance to our peptide antibiotic. Using a peptide derived from the Helix 3 segment of the methionine aminopeptidase of Escherichia coli, we tested it on E. coli and showed it’s not only useful for inhibiting the growth of clinical strain E. coli but also the multi-drug resistant strain,” reportedly said Professor Zhou.

The researchers conducted several computational studies to analyse why the peptide is able to disrupt protein structure. “We can theoretically use the same technique to target cancer-causing proteins and viral proteins, so this will be a unique way to approach drug resistance in cancer patients. We’ve done an initial study on cancer cells and we do find it’s able to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. But there’s still a lot of work to do,” reportedly said Professor Zhou.