Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Research Group Gets $ 7 Million To Pursue New Antibiotic Agents

25.04.2007
The National Institutes of Health has awarded $7 million to a team of researchers from the University of Illinois and the University of Wisconsin to discover, engineer and produce a promising - yet little explored - class of antibiotic agents.

The research will look for alternatives to standard antibiotics, which are losing their effectiveness against common infectious agents. Health experts worldwide are concerned about the spread of antibiotic-resistant microbial infections and the shrinking arsenal of compounds that can effectively treat them.

The five-year effort will explore the medical potential of a class of compounds called phosphonates. These compounds already have shown promise in treating infectious diseases such as malaria, and may also be useful in managing some chronic medical conditions. Phosphonates work by inhibiting cellular processes that involve naturally occurring phosphorylated compounds.

"There is the potential to discover a phosphonate inhibitor for every biochemical pathway that involves phosphorylated intermediates," said microbiology professor William W. Metcalf, a principal investigator on the study. "Because these compounds are widespread in biological processes, the range of targets is very large."

... more about:
»antibiotic »microbial »phosphonate

Metcalf is one of five principal investigators at the U. of I., all of whom have appointments at the Institute for Genomic Biology. His collaborators are William H. and Janet Lycan professor of chemistry Willem (Wilfred) A. van der Donk, chemical and biomolecular engineering professor Huimin Zhao, chemistry professor Neil Kelleher and biochemistry professor Satish Nair, of the Center for Biophysics and Computational Biology. Jo Handelsman, of the University of Wisconsin, also will contribute to the effort.

Metcalf, a microbial geneticist, has long been intrigued by bacterial phosphate metabolism. He has discovered and biochemically characterized a number of previously unknown enzymes involved in the microbial metabolism of phosphate compounds.

About 70 percent of the antibiotics currently in use come from bacteria. Metcalf's fascination with the ongoing "biological warfare between bacteria" led him to explore the antimicrobial potential of phosphonates. While phosphonates have found uses in medicine - to treat malaria or hypertension - this area of research is fairly new, he said.

"No one has even made a dedicated search for phosphonates in nature," he said.

Metcalf and his collaborators have analyzed the biological activity of some known phosphonates,such as the herbicide phosphinothricin.

The van der Donk and Zhao groups have investigated the clinically used phosphonate, fosfomycin.

Kelleher, a biological mass spectroscopist, has constructed several new, high-resolution Fourier Transform mass spectrometers, which will help the researchers isolate previously unknown microbial products that contain the phosphonate group.

Nair is an X-ray crystallographer with expertise in elucidating the three-dimensional structure of protein and DNA complexes.

The research team has four goals: the discovery and genetic characterization of phosphonate biosynthetic pathways; the biochemical reconstruction of those pathways that have antibiotic or other therapeutic potential; the bioengineering of medically useful phosphonates and their biosynthetic enzymes for economical production; and the use of the latest mass spectrometric technology to discover and engineer phosphonates and enzymes that contribute to phosphonate metabolism.

"Our role is the discovery of antibiotics for which there is a critical need and the development of ways to produce these antibiotics economically," Metcalf said.

Diana Yates | University of Illinois
Further information:
http://www.news.uiuc.edu/news/07/0424antibiotics.html

Further reports about: antibiotic microbial phosphonate

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Molecular evolution: How the building blocks of life may form in space
26.04.2018 | American Institute of Physics

nachricht Multifunctional bacterial microswimmer able to deliver cargo and destroy itself
26.04.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Intelligente Systeme

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Why we need erasable MRI scans

New technology could allow an MRI contrast agent to 'blink off,' helping doctors diagnose disease

Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is a widely used medical tool for taking pictures of the insides of our body. One way to make MRI scans easier to read is...

Im Focus: BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight

At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.

Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

World's smallest optical implantable biodevice

26.04.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Molecular evolution: How the building blocks of life may form in space

26.04.2018 | Life Sciences

First Li-Fi-product with technology from Fraunhofer HHI launched in Japan

26.04.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>