Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New compound defeats drug-resistant bacteria

29.11.2011
Chemists at Brown University have synthesized a new compound that makes drug-resistant bacteria susceptible again to antibiotics.

The compound — BU-005 — blocks pumps that a bacterium employs to expel an antibacterial agent called chloramphenicol. The team used a new and highly efficient method for the synthesis of BU-005 and other C-capped dipeptides. Results appear in Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry.

It’s no wonder that medicine’s effort to combat bacterial infections is often described as an arms race. When new drugs are developed to combat infections, the bacterial target invariably comes up with a deterrent.

A particularly ingenious weapon in the bacterial arsenal is the drug efflux pump. These pumps are proteins located in the membranes of bacteria that can recognize and expel drugs that have breached the membranes. In some cases, the bacterial pumps have become so advanced they can recognize and expel drugs with completely different structures and mechanisms.

“This turns out to be a real problem in clinical settings, especially when a bacterial pathogen acquires a gene encoding an efflux pump that acts on multiple antibiotics,” said Jason Sello, assistant professor of chemistry at Brown University. “In the worst case scenario, a bacterium can go from being drug-susceptible to resistant to five or six different drugs by acquiring a single gene.”

A new way to attack drug-resistant bacteria: “If drug efflux pumps are inhibited, then bacteria will be susceptible to drugs again.”That leaves two choices: Make more new and costly antibiotics or find a way around the pump. Sello and his group chose the latter. In a paper published in the journal Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry, the team reports it has discovered a new compound of C-capped dipeptides, called BU-005, to circumvent a family of drug-efflux pumps associated with Gram-positive bacteria, which include the dangerous MRSA and tuberculosis strains. Until that discovery, C-capped dipeptides were known to work only against an efflux pump family associated with Gram-negative bacteria.

“If drug efflux pumps are inhibited, then bacteria will be susceptible to drugs again,” Sello said. “This approach is of interest because one would have to discover efflux pump inhibitors rather than entirely new kinds of antibacterial drugs.”

Recently, a company called MPEX Pharmaceuticals discovered that specific C-capped dipeptides could block the efflux pumps of the RND family, which are responsible for much of the drug resistance in Gram-negative bacteria. One of these compounds developed at MPEX advanced to phase I of an FDA clinical trial. Sello and his co-authors investigated whether C-capped dipeptides could block the pumps of another drug efflux family, called the major facilitator superfamily (MFS), which is associated mostly with Gram-positive bacteria.

The Brown team thought that new and perhaps more potent C-capped dipeptide efflux pump blockers could be discovered. Since it is not possible to predict which C-capped dipeptides would be efflux pump blockers, they synthesized a collection of structurally diverse C-capped dipeptides and screened it for compounds with new or enhanced activities.

Normally, this is a four- to five-step process. Sello’s group reduced that to two steps, taking advantage of a technique used in other chemistry practices, known as the Ugi reaction. Using this approach, the team was able to prepare dozens of different C-capped dipeptides. They assessed each compound’s ability to block two efflux pumps in the bacterium Streptomyces coelicolor, a relative of the human pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis and which resists chloramphenicol, one of the oldest antibacterial drugs.

From a collection of nearly 100 C-capped dipeptides that they prepared and tested, the group discovered BU-005. The new compound excited the researchers because it prevented the MFS efflux pump family from expelling chloramphenicol. Until now, structurally related C-capped dipeptides had only been reported to prevent chloramphenicol expulsion by other drug efflux pump families.

“Our findings that C-capped dipeptides inhibit efflux pumps in both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria should reinvigorate interest in these compounds," Sello said. "Moreover, our simplified synthetic route should make the medicinal chemistry on this class of compounds much simpler.”

Two Brown undergraduate students, Daniel Greenwald ’12, and Jessica Wroten ’11, helped perform the research and are contributing authors on the paper.

Greenwald joined the team in his freshman year, after reaching out to Sello. “This project was the first real immersion I had into chemistry research at an advanced level,” said Greenwald, of Madison, Wisc. “It was an amazing opportunity to be able to use the tools of synthetic chemistry to address problems from molecular biology. It was definitely one of the most engaging aspects of my experience at Brown.”

Babajide Okandeji, who earned his doctorate last May and is a new products quality control chemist at Waters Corp. in Taunton, Mass., is the paper’s first author.

Brown University funded the work. Greenwald was supported by a Royce Fellows Program. Wroten was funded by a Brown University Undergraduate Teaching and Research Assistantship (UTRA) during the summer of 2010.

Editors: Brown University has a fiber link television studio available for domestic and international live and taped interviews, and maintains an ISDN line for radio interviews. For more information, call (401) 863-2476.

Richard Lewis | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.brown.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A new molecular player involved in T cell activation
07.12.2018 | Tokyo Institute of Technology

nachricht News About a Plant Hormone
07.12.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Researchers develop method to transfer entire 2D circuits to any smooth surface

What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.

Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...

Im Focus: Three components on one chip

Scientists at the University of Stuttgart and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) succeed in important further development on the way to quantum Computers.

Quantum computers one day should be able to solve certain computing problems much faster than a classical computer. One of the most promising approaches is...

Im Focus: Substitute for rare earth metal oxides

New Project SNAPSTER: Novel luminescent materials by encapsulating phosphorescent metal clusters with organic liquid crystals

Nowadays energy conversion in lighting and optoelectronic devices requires the use of rare earth oxides.

Im Focus: A bit of a stretch... material that thickens as it's pulled

Scientists have discovered the first synthetic material that becomes thicker - at the molecular level - as it is stretched.

Researchers led by Dr Devesh Mistry from the University of Leeds discovered a new non-porous material that has unique and inherent "auxetic" stretching...

Im Focus: The force of the vacuum

Scientists from the Theory Department of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science (CFEL) in Hamburg have shown through theoretical calculations and computer simulations that the force between electrons and lattice distortions in an atomically thin two-dimensional superconductor can be controlled with virtual photons. This could aid the development of new superconductors for energy-saving devices and many other technical applications.

The vacuum is not empty. It may sound like magic to laypeople but it has occupied physicists since the birth of quantum mechanics.

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

Expert Panel on the Future of HPC in Engineering

03.12.2018 | Event News

Inaugural "Virtual World Tour" scheduled for december

28.11.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A new molecular player involved in T cell activation

07.12.2018 | Life Sciences

High-temperature electronics? That's hot

07.12.2018 | Materials Sciences

Supercomputers without waste heat

07.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>