Scientists Unravel Mystery Of Bacteria's Antibiotic Resistance

Posted: Oct 10 2016, 11:04am CDT | by , in Latest Science News


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Scientists Unravel Mystery of Bacteria's Antibiotic Resistance
This is Pablo Sobrado, a professor of biochemistry in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and his graduate student Heba Adbelwahab study antibiotic resistance. Credit: Virginia Tech
  • Enzyme action of bacteria found to be responsible for antibiotic resistance

Enzyme Rifampicin monooxygenase inhibits the action of antibiotic Rifampicin which cures TB, leprosy and Legionnaire's disease.

The medical community is currently plagued with the problem of antimicrobial resistance, which is considered one of the biggest problems in modern medicine.

Antibiotics are proving to be ineffective towards disease causing bacteria as they are developing immunity towards the drugs. However a recent scientific endeavor may have found the answer to the increasing problem of antibiotic resistance.

For instance the popular antibiotic drug called rifampicin which is used to treat diseases like tuberculosis, leprosy, and Legionnaire's disease, was becoming ineffective.

It seemed the bacteria which caused all these diseases were developing resistance against the antibiotic Rifampicin. Rifampicin had been used to treat such infections for more than 40 years.

Scientists have found one of the mechanism which leads to increased resistance towards rifampicin is the action of a bacterial flavo-enzyme.

The enzyme Rifampicin monooxygenase present in bacteria may be leading to the increased resistance towards antibiotics. This enzyme binds to the structure of the antibiotic rifampicin and deactivates it.

The research was carried out by Professor Pablo Sobrado, from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Pablo along with co-workers utilized a special technique known as X-ray crystallography to recognize and assess the structure of this enzyme.

Other biochemical interventions also allowed them to figure out the mechanism of how this enzyme deactivates the antibiotics. The findings have been published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry and PLOS One.

A graduate student from Sobrado's lab; Heba Adbelwahab was a key contributor to the research and also the first author of the study paper.

According to Adbelwahab, they now have the blueprints of the enzyme which makes antibiotics ineffective and they just have to inhibit the enzyme itself to prevent antibiotic resistance.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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