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

Antibiotic ‘Smart Bomb’ Can Target Specific Strains of Bacteria

Published: Friday, January 31, 2014
Last Updated: Friday, January 31, 2014
Bookmark and Share
Technique offers a potential approach to treat infections by multi-drug resistant bacteria.

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a de facto antibiotic “smart bomb” that can identify specific strains of bacteria and sever their DNA, eliminating the infection. 

“Conventional antibiotic treatments kill both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria, leading to unintended consequences, such as opportunistic infections,” says Dr. Chase Beisel, an assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at NC State and senior author of a paper describing the work. “What we’ve shown in this new work is that it is possible to selectively remove specific strains of bacteria without affecting populations of good bacteria.”

The new approach works by taking advantage of a part of an immune system present in many bacteria called the CRISPR-Cas system. The CRISPR-Cas system protects bacteria from invaders such as viruses by creating small strands of RNA called CRISPR RNAs, which match DNA sequences specific to a given invader. When those CRISPR RNAs find a match, they unleash Cas proteins that cut the DNA.

The NC State researchers have demonstrated that designing CRISPR RNAs to target DNA sequences in the bacteria themselves causes bacterial suicide, as a bacterium’s CRISPR-Cas system attacks its own DNA.

“In lab testing, we found that this approach removes the targeted bacteria,” Beisel says. “We’re still trying to understand precisely how severing the DNA leads to elimination of the bacteria. However, we’re encouraged by the ease in specifically targeting different bacteria and the potency of elimination.”

The researchers tested the approach in controlled cultures with different combinations of bacteria present, and were able to eliminate only the targeted strain. “For example, we were able to eliminate Salmonella in a culture without affecting good bacteria normally found in the digestive tract,” Beisel says.

The researchers were also able to demonstrate the precision of the technique by eliminating one strain of a species, but not another strain of the same species which shares 99 percent of the same DNA.

Another benefit of the approach, Beisel says, is that “by targeting specific DNA strands through the CRISPR-Cas system, we’re able to bypass the mechanisms underlying the many examples of antibiotic resistance.”

The researchers are currently working to develop effective methods for delivering the CRISPR RNAs in clinical settings.

“This sets the stage for next-generation antibiotics using programmable CRISPR-Cas systems,” says Dr. Rodolphe Barrangou, an associate professor of food, bioprocessing and nutrition sciences at NC State and co-author of the manuscript.

The paper, “Programmable removal of bacterial strains by use of genome-targeting CRISPR-Cas systems,” is published online in the journal mBio. The paper is open access. Lead author of the paper is Ahmed Abdelshafy Gomaa, a Ph.D. student at NC State. Co-authors include Heidi Klumpe, a former undergraduate at NC State, and Michelle Luo and Kurt Selle, Ph.D. students at NC State.


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 3,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 5,000+ 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

Delivering Localized Cancer Therapy
Technique developed that uses a patch embedded with microneedles to deliver cancer immunotherapy treatment directly to the site of melanoma skin cancer.
Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Scientific News
Point of Care Diagnostics - A Cautious Revolution
Advances in molecular biology, coupled with the miniaturization and improved sensitivity of assays and devices in general, have enabled a new wave of point-of-care (POC) or “bedside” diagnostics.
Antibodies Paving the Way to HIV Vaccine
Researchers uncover factors responsible for the formation of broadly neutralizing HIV antibodies in humans.
Vaccine Against Common Cold Achievable
Researchers suggest that a vaccine against rhinoviruses is possible using variant virus vaccines.
Iron Nanoparticles Make Immune Cells Attack Cancer
Researchers accidentally discover that nanoparticles invented for anemia treatment can trigger the immune system’s ability to destroy tumor cells.
Uncovering Cancer’s ‘Invisibility Cloak’
Researchers discover cancer cell mechanism to become invisible to the body's immune system.
Treating Sepsis with Marine Mitochondria
Mitochondrial alternative oxidase from a marine animal combats bacterial sepsis.
Culex Mosquitoes Do Not Transmit Zika
A study of the Culex species mosquito appears to show that the species does not transmit Zika virus.
Bacteria Use Ranking Strategy to Fight Off Viruses
Researchers have explained why microbes store virus confrontation information sequentially, with most recent attacks first.
Molecular Switch Aids Immune Therapy
Researchers identify strategy to maximise effectiveness of immune therapy through molecular switch controlling immune suppression.
Reprogramming Lymph Nodes to Fight MS
Bioengineers work to reprogram lymph node function to fight multiple sclerosis.
Skyscraper Banner

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
3,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,000+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!