Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
ADME Tox
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Breaking up the Superbugs’ Party

Published: Friday, August 16, 2013
Last Updated: Friday, August 16, 2013
Bookmark and Share
The fight against antibiotic-resistant superbugs has taken a step forward thanks to a new discovery by scientists.

A BBSRC-funded multi-disciplinary research team at the University's Centre for Biomolecular Sciences has uncovered a new way of inhibiting the toxicity and virulence of the notorious superbug, Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

These bacteria are resistant to many conventional antibiotics. It is almost impossible to eradicate P. aeruginosa from the lungs of people with cystic fibrosis and is therefore a leading cause of death among sufferers. The bug also causes a wide range of infections particularly among hospital patients.

The new discovery concerns the bacterial cells' ability to 'talk' to each other by producing and sensing small chemical signal molecules. This is called 'quorum sensing' (QS) and enables a population of individual bacteria to act socially rather than as individuals. QS allows a population of bacteria to assess their numerical strength and make a decision only when the population is 'quorate'.

The mechanism through which QS signals work is by activating gene expression upon interaction of a QS signal molecule with a receptor protein. In many disease-causing bacteria, QS controls genes which are essential for infection. These genes code for virulence factors such as toxins which cause damage to host tissues and the immune system. Interfering with the QS signalling process blocks bacterial virulence and renders bacteria unable to cause infection. Consequently QS systems are molecular targets for the development of new anti-infective drugs which do not kill bacteria but instead block their ability to cause disease.

In a study published in the journal, PLOS Pathogens, the Nottingham team has described how they solved the 3D structure of a receptor protein called PqsR used by P. aeruginosa to sense alkyl quinolone QS signal molecules so that they could visualize the shape of the QS signal molecule-binding site within the PqsR protein.

Professor of Molecular Microbiology, Paul Williams, said: "We were able to synthesize and screen a library of chemical compounds which could fit within the PqsR binding site and block receptor activation by the QS signal molecules. The active compounds were screened for their ability to inhibit QS and through a process of chemical refinement some novel potent QS inhibitors were discovered which were tested biologically on P.aeruginosa and shown to block virulence gene expression."

Professor of Macromolecular Crystallography, Jonas Emsley, added: "This ground-breaking work establishes a platform for the future evaluation and further development of these new QS inhibitor compounds as potential drugs for the treatment of P. aeruginosa infections."


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 4,000+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 5,300+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Andy Richards receives BIA Lifetime Achievement Award
BBSRC Council member and life sciences entrepreneur Dr Andy Richards has received the BioIndustry Association (BIA) Lifetime Achievement Award.
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Scientific News
Unique Visual Stimulation May Be New Treatment for Alzheimer’s
Noninvasive technique reduces beta amyloid plaques in mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease.
Genetics Control Regenerative Properties Of Stem Cells
Researchers define how genetic factors control regenerative properties of blood-forming stem cells.
Gene-Editing Improves Vision in Blind Rats
Scientists developed a targeted gene-replacement technique that can modify genes in both dividing and non-dividing cells in living animals.
Uncovering Cerebral Malaria’s Deadly Agents
NIH scientists film inside mouse brains to uncover biology behind the disease.
Blood-brain Barrier on a Chip
Researchers from Vanderbilt University have developed a microfluidic device to study the blood-brain barrier.
Immune-Cell Traps May Aid Cancer Metastasis
Study suggests cancer cells can induce neutrophils to release traps which the cells use to capture pathogens.
Inspiring Futuristic Innovation: Brain ‘Organoids’
Scientists create artificial brains, providing an advanced model for studying brain tumour development.
Parkinson's Disease Linked to Microbiome
Scientists have discovered a link between intestinal bacteria and Parkinson's disease.
Making Personalized Medicine a Reality
Groundbreaking technique developed at McMaster University is helping to pave the way for advances in personalized medicine.
Top 10 Life Science Innovations of 2016
2016 has seen the release of some truly innovative products. To help you digest these developments, The Scientist have listed their top picks for the year.
SELECTBIO

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
4,000+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,300+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!