Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Scientists strike blow in super bugs struggle

Scientists from The University of Manchester have pioneered new ways of tweaking the molecular structure of antibiotics – an innovation that could be crucial in the fight against powerful super bugs.

The work, led by chemical biologist Dr Jason Micklefield in collaboration with geneticist Professor Colin Smith, is published online today (Wednesday 5 December 2007) and will appear in next issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Using funding from the UK’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), scientists working in The School of Chemistry and the Manchester Interdisciplinary Biocentre have paved the way for the development of new types of antibiotics capable of fighting increasingly resistant bacteria.

Micklefield, Smith and colleagues were the first to engineer the biosynthesis of lipopeptide antibiotics of this class back in 2002.

They have now developed methodologies for altering the structure of these antibiotics, such as mutating, adding and deleting components.

This innovation provides access to thousands of lipopeptide variants that cannot be produced easily in any other way.

Dr Micklefield said: “The results from this work are essential in the development of the next generation of lipopeptide antibiotics, which are critical to combat emerging super bugs that have acquired resistance to other antibiotics.

“The potent activity of this class of antibiotics against pathogens that are resistant to all current antibiotic treatments makes them one of the most important groups of antibiotics available.

“Our work relies on interdisciplinary chemical-biology, spanning chemistry through to molecular genetics. It follows the tradition of pioneering work in natural product biosynthesis and engineering that has come out of the UK.”

Scientists in Manchester have been doing work on calcium dependant antibiotics (CDA), which belong to the same family of acidic lipopeptides as daptomycin.

In 2003 daptomycin became the first new structural class of natural antibiotic to reach hospitals in more than 30 years.

But researchers say there is already evidence that bacteria are evolving and becoming resistant to daptomycin – leading to the emergence of dangerous new super bugs.

Dr Micklefield added: “If we are to successfully fight and control potent new super bugs in the future, we need to be developing the next generation of antibiotics now.”

The research carried out by Dr Mickelfield and his colleagues is part of a larger £650,000 project called ‘Combinatorial biosynthesis of lipopeptide antibiotics’, which is funded by the BBSRC and supported by drug discovery company Biotica. It is concerned with elucidating and engineering biosynthetic pathways leading to complex nonribosomal lipopeptide antibiotics.

Jon Keighren | alfa
Further information:

Further reports about: Micklefield biosynthesis daptomycin lipopeptide

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>