Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Biologists Find New Method for Discovering Antibiotics

Published: Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Last Updated: Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Biologists have developed a revolutionary new method for identifying and characterizing antibiotics.

The researchers, who published their findings in this week’s early online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, made their discovery by developing a way to perform the equivalent of an autopsy on bacterial cells.

“This will provide a powerful new tool for identifying compounds that kill bacteria and determining how they work,” said Joseph Pogliano, a professor of biology at UC San Diego who headed the research team. “Some bacteria have evolved resistance to every known class of antibiotic and, when these multi-drug resistant bacteria cause an infection, they are nearly impossible to treat. There is an urgent need for new antibiotics capable of treating infections caused by antibiotic resistant bacteria.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alarming report in March that antibiotic-resistant strains of Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, had been found to cause infections in patients in nearly 200 hospitals in the United States alone. Because no antibiotics on the market are effective at treating these infections, about one-half of patients die from CRE infections. These outbreaks are difficult to contain, and in a 2011 outbreak of Klebsiella pneumonia at the U.S. National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, the bacteria spread despite strict infection control procedures and was detected in drains and medical devices that had been subject to standard decontamination protocols.

“We are finally running out of the miracle drugs,” said Pogliano, who detailed the history: The antibiotic penicillin was first discovered in the late 1920s, and received widespread clinical use in the 1940s. However, bacteria quickly evolved resistance to penicillin, so new and better versions were developed. Since that time, a continuous race has been fought to identify new antibiotics in order to stay one step ahead of the evolving resistance. In the 2011 outbreak of Klebsiella, the bacteria evolved resistance even to colistin, a drug of last resort because of its severe side effects.

Over the last 25 years, the number of new antibiotics entering the clinic has drastically declined. At the same time, bacteria have continued to evolve resistance to all of the currently available drugs, creating the current critical situation. One of the main problems in identifying new antibiotics and bringing them to market is a lack of understanding how the molecules work.

“It’s easy to identify thousands of molecules capable of killing bacteria,” explained Kit Pogliano, a professor of biology and a co-author of the paper. “The hard part is picking out the winners from the losers, and choosing molecules that are the best candidates for drug development. One key piece of information needed for this choice is knowledge of how the drug works, but this is traditionally difficult information to obtain, usually requiring months of intensive work. We’ve applied 21st century methods that within just two hours provide this information, allowing more rapid prioritization of new molecules. This will open up the discovery pipeline, allowing us to more rapidly identify new molecules with potential to enter the clinic for treatment of multi-drug-resistant pathogens.”

One key to this new approach was the combination of microscopy and quantitative biology tools. “We had to develop all of the cell biology and quantitative biology methods for generating the data ourselves and that required a lot of work, but now that we have the method working, it is very exciting,” said Poochit Nonejuie, a graduate student in the Division of Biological Sciences and another co-author. “My chemistry colleagues can give me a new molecule in the morning, and by the afternoon I can tell them the likely cellular pathways that they target. It’s mind blowing how powerful the technology is.”

The UC San Diego biologists say their new method is not only game changing, but promises to revolutionize how drug discovery teams guide their studies.  With previous methods, understanding how an antibiotic works requires many different biochemical assays to be performed, which requires a lot of time and relatively large quantities of the compound, which is almost always in short supply when it is first discovered.

“Our new method represents the first time that a single test can be performed and identify the likely mechanism of action for a new compound,” said Joseph Pogliano. He noted that postdoctoral fellow Anne Lamsa has miniaturized the method so that it requires just a few nanograms of each drug candidate, conserving molecules that are often available only in tiny quantities.

“It’s also faster and can be easily adapted for high-throughput drug discovery efforts,” he added. “This method will allow us to more quickly identify chemicals that kill bacteria, which will accelerate the development of new medicines. Understanding how antibiotics work is key to understanding how they evolve resistance.”

Pogliano said his research team, which also included Mike Burkart, a chemistry and biochemistry professor, will be continuing its investigations on antibiotics. “We are now using this method to look for new molecules active against antibiotic resistant bacteria,” he said.


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 2,900+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 4,200+ 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

Cat Stem Cell Therapy Gives Humans Hope
By the time Bob the cat came to the UC Davis veterinary hospital, he had used up most of his nine lives.
Monday, February 08, 2016
Crowdfunding the Fight Against Cancer
From budding social causes to groundbreaking businesses to the next big band, crowdfunding has helped connect countless worthy projects with like-minded people willing to support their efforts, even in small ways. But could crowdfunding help fight cancer?
Monday, February 08, 2016
Toxic Pollutants Found in Fish Across the World's Oceans
Scripps researchers' analysis shows highly variable pollutant concentrations in fish meat.
Friday, January 29, 2016
Key Enzyme in Pierce’s Disease Grapevine Damage Uncovered
UC Davis plant scientists have identified an enzyme that appears to play a key role in the insect-transmitted bacterial infection of grapevines with Pierce’s disease, which annually costs California’s grape and wine industries more than $100 million.
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Science Magazine Names CRISPR ‘Breakthrough of the Year’
In its year-end issue, the journal Science chose the CRISPR genome-editing technology invented at UC Berkeley 2015’s Breakthrough of the Year.
Monday, December 21, 2015
Genome Sequencing May Save California's Legendary Sugar Pine
The genome of California’s legendary sugar pine, which naturalist John Muir declared to be “king of the conifers” more than a century ago, has been sequenced by a research team led by UC Davis scientists.
Thursday, December 17, 2015
Cellular “ORACLs” to Aid Drug Discovery
New approach for finding therapeutics is inspired by face-recognition software.
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
New Virus Disovered, Linked To Hepatitis C
Study is first to reveal entire genetic makeup of human pegivirus 2.
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
CRISPR-Cas9 Helps Uncover Genetics of Exotic Organisms
A new study illustrates the ease with which CRISPR-Cas9 can knock out genes in exotic animals to learn how those genes control growth and development.
Friday, December 11, 2015
UC Davis Cracks the Walnut Genome
Scientists at the University of California, Davis, have for the first time sequenced the genome of a commercial walnut variety.
Friday, December 11, 2015
‘Purity’ Of Tumor Samples May Significantly Bias Genomic Analyses
Non-cancerous tumor components influence research findings, clinical classifications, study shows.
Monday, December 07, 2015
New Method for Screening Cancer Cells
Parallel microfiltration could lead to better treatments for a number of diseases, UCLA-led study says.
Thursday, December 03, 2015
Embryonic Switch for Cancer Stem Cell Generation
An international team of scientists report that decreases in a specific group of proteins trigger changes in the cancer microenvironment that accelerate growth and development of therapy-resistant cancer stem cells (CSCs).
Wednesday, December 02, 2015
New Organic Plant Breeding Effort Launched
A new effort to provide California growers with seeds for tomato, bean, pepper and other crop varieties that are specially bred for organic farming has been launched at UC Davis.
Tuesday, December 01, 2015
When it Comes to Breast Cancer, Common Pigeon is No Bird Brain
If pigeons went to medical school and specialized in pathology or radiology, they’d be pretty good at distinguishing digitized microscope slides and mammograms of normal vs. cancerous breast tissue, a new study has found.
Monday, November 30, 2015
Scientific News
Microdroplet Reactors Mimic Living Systems
Researchers use microdroplets to study non-equilibrium reactions like those in living organisms.
NIH Researchers Identify Striking Genomic Signature for Cancer
Institute has identified striking signature shared by five types of cancer.
CRI Develops Innovative Approach for Identifying Lung Cancer
Institute has developed innovative approach for identifying processes that fuel tumor growth in lung cancer patients.
Envigo Rat Models Proven to be Susceptible to Intra-Vaginal HSV-2 Infection and Protectable
Scientific findings establish the effectiveness of new approach to investigate the protective effects of vaccine candidates and anti-viral microbodies and to study asymptomatic primary genital HSV-2 infection.
What do Banana Peels and Human Skin Have in Common?
Human skin and banana peels have something in common: they produce the same enzyme when attacked. By studying fruit, researchers have come up with an accurate method for diagnosing the stages of this form of skin cancer.
The Spice of Life
Scientists discover important genetic source of human diversity.
Cytoskeleton Crew
Findings confirm sugar's role in helping cancers survive by changing cellular architecture.
The Power of Three
Overlooked portion of cell “death receptor” critical in some cancers, autoimmune diseases.
Drug that Activates Innate Immune System Identified
Researchers from the institute have identified a drug, which is straightforward to synthesize and to couple to antigens that induce an immune response and may prove useful in the generation of vaccines.
Removing Race from Human Genetic Research
A group of scientists are urging their colleagues to take a step forward and stop using racial categories when researching and studying human genetics.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
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
2,900+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,200+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!