Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Anthrax Killer from the Sea

01.07.2013
Unusual antibiotic from a marine actinomycete is effective against anthrax

A new potential drug from a marine microorganism is effective against anthrax and various other Gram-positive bacteria, as reported by American scientists in the journal Angewandte Chemie. A chlorinated analogue kills off Gram-negative bacteria.



Anthrax is a dangerous infectious disease caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis and transmitted by infected farm animals. For several years now, anthrax has also been feared as a biological weapon. Attacks with spore-containing letters caused five deaths in 2001.

Infection with anthrax usually requires tedious treatment with various antibiotics. Infections caught through the respiratory system are especially dangerous, often requiring continuous intravenous antibiotics. The search for effective antibiotics is thus correspondingly important.

Researchers working with William Fenical have now isolated a species of Streptomyces from near-shore sediments near Santa Barbara, California. The culture extracts demonstrate significant activity against anthrax. The team from the University of California, San Diego and Trius Therapeutics (San Diego) succeeded in isolating a molecule from this extract that kills off anthrax bacteria as well as other Gram-positive bacteria like staphylococci, enterococci, and streptococci. However, it is virtually useless against Gram-negative bacteria.

By using a variety of methods of analysis, the researchers were able to determine the structure of this molecule, which they named anthracimycin. Anthracimycin contains an unusual system of rings, one with fourteen carbon atoms and two with six each. This is a macrolide whose biosynthesis very likely occurs by the polyketide pathway. X-ray crystallographic studies allowed the researchers to determine the absolute configurations of the seven asymmetric carbon centers in this compound, identifying the complete 3-dimensional structure.

This class of molecules is completely different from all known antibiotics. An similar carbon skeleton is found in chlorotonil, a metabolite from the terrestrial myxobacterium Sorangium cellulosum. However, chlorotonil differs in its carbon skeleton, contains two chlorine atoms and the stereochemistry of most of its asymmetric carbon centers differs from that of anthracimycin.

In order to examine the effects of the chlorine atoms in the close analogue chlorotonil, the scientists chlorinated anthracimycin.

This chlorine-containing analogue proved to be only about half as effective against B. anthracis. However, its activity against a number of Gram-negative pathogens increased significantly. This finding is important because Gram-negative bacteria are often resistant to current antibiotics. Comprehensive studies of this new class of antibacterials could lead to the development of effective new drugs.

About the Author
Dr. William Fenical is Distinguished Professor of Oceanography and Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Director of the Center for Marine Biotechnology and Biomedicine at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California at San Diego. Dr. Fenical is a Fellow of the American Society of Pharmacognosy, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the recipient of the Ernest Guenther Award in Natural Products Chemistry by the American Chemical Society.
Author: William Fenical, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla (USA), http://mbrd.ucsd.edu/Profile/?who=wfenical
Title: Anthracimycin, a Potent Anthrax Antibiotic from a Marine-Derived Actinomycete

Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Permalink to the article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201302749

William Fenical | Angewandte Chemie
Further information:
http://pressroom.angewandte.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht What the world's tiniest 'monster truck' reveals
23.08.2017 | American Chemical Society

nachricht Treating arthritis with algae
23.08.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

What the world's tiniest 'monster truck' reveals

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Treating arthritis with algae

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Witnessing turbulent motion in the atmosphere of a distant star

23.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>