Led by Professor Tony Maxwell of the John Innes Centre (Norwich, UK)  and Professor Lutz Heide of the Pharmazeutisches Institut, Tübingen (Germany) , the team has developed ways of engineering harmless soil bacteria called Streptomyces to do the difficult chemistry for them. Streptomyces naturally make antibiotics to kill other bacteria in the soil. Unfortunately these don’t make very good drugs for use in humans because they are not very soluble in water and so cannot get into the bloodstream easily. The researchers have found a way to modify the bacteria to manufacture new varieties of these antibiotics that could be developed into more effective drugs. By studying variations of two natural antibiotics produced by Streptomyces, called novobiocin and clorobiocin, the scientists are determining which parts of the molecules are essential for their antibacterial activity. They hope that by varying other parts of the molecules they can design new antibiotics with better activity and fewer side effects.
Novobiocin and clorobiocin work by interfering with how DNA, the molecule that stores genetic information, is packed into the bacterial cell. The DNA in human cells is packed differently and so these cells are not affected by the antibiotics.
“This work is an excellent example of the European Union  at its best, combining the forces of seven labs from five different member states to carry out work that would not be possible by in lab working alone” said Tony Maxwell “We are very optimistic that we can make key discoveries about these antibiotics that will help them become vital weapons in our fight against MRSA and other bacterial infections”.
This exciting work is published this week in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  and will also be discussed at an event in Norwich as part of the BA Festival of Science in September 2006 .
1.The John Innes Centre (JIC), Norwich, UK is an independent, world-leading research centre in plant and microbial sciences. The JIC has over 800 staff and students. JIC carries out high quality fundamental, strategic and applied research to understand how plants and microbes work at the molecular, cellular and genetic levels. The JIC also trains scientists and students, collaborates with many other research laboratories and communicates its science to end-users and the general public. www.jic.ac.uk. he JIC is grant-aided by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.
2.Pharmazeutisches Institut, Auf der Morgenstelle 8, D-72076 Tübingen, Germany. Tel.: +49 7071-29 72460
3.This work is published in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (Volume 50, issue 4) (Publishers: American Society for Microbiology).
4.This work was funded by a grant from the European Commission (Combigyrase LSHB-CT-2004-503466).
5.The BA (British Association for the Advancement of Science) Annual Festival of Science runs from 2nd-9th September 2006 in Norwich, and is the biggest public science event in the UK. It is expected to attract over 10,000 people from around the world with the theme of “People, Science and Society”.
Professor Tony Maxwell | alfa
Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy