BacPROTACs: the antibiotics of the future
Antibiotics save millions of lives around the world. However, antibiotic resistance poses a growing threat to public health, which makes new antimicrobial agents all the more important. Researchers have now taken an important step in the development of alternative antibiotics.
Bacterial infections cause hundreds of thousands of deaths each year; growing antibiotic resistance makes global pandemics more and more likely. The search for alternative antibiotics is therefore all the more important. In a study published in the specialist journal “Cell”, researchers have developed new active substances potentially directed against any bacterial protein and thus represent a completely new class of antibiotics.
Break down bacterial proteins
The targeted destruction of selected cellular proteins with individually developed designer molecules is a new approach to the development of chemotherapeutic agents in the treatment of cancer, according to a recent press release from the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE).
A particularly studied class of such protein degradation molecules are the so-called PROTACs (proteolysis targeting chimeras).
In the recently published study, a team led by Prof. Dr. Tim Clausen from the Research Institute for Molecular Pathology in Vienna together with the working group of UDE Prof. Dr. Markus Kaiser looked beyond cancer therapy.
The new class of these molecules developed by the researchers, called BacPROTACs, are specifically designed to degrade only bacterial proteins. They are therefore effective against infections by different classes of bacteria, including, for example, the mycobacteria responsible for tuberculosis.
When conventional means no longer work
However, the new active ingredients cannot harm humans or animals because the mechanism by which they break down proteins occurs exclusively in bacteria.
“Because it is a new approach to combat bacterial infections against which there is not yet resistance, BacPROTACs could in particular be used when conventional antibiotics are no longer effective,” explains Kaiser.
Since BacPROTACs can, in principle, be directed against any bacterial protein, they form the basis of an indispensable new class of antibiotics. (ad)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the specialized medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.
University of Duisburg-Essen: Antibiotics of the Future, (Accessed: July 2, 2022), University of Duisburg-EssenFrancesca E. Morreale, Stefan Kleine, Julia Leodolter, Sabryna Junker, David M. Hoi, Stepan Ovchinnikov, Anastasia Okun, Juliane Kley , Robert Kurzbauer, Lukas Junk, Somraj Guha, David Podlesainski, Uli Kazmaier, Guido Boehmelt, Harald Weinstabl, Klaus Rumpel, Volker M. Schmiedel, Markus Hartl, David Haselbach, Anton Meinhart, Markus Kaiser, Tim Clausen: degradation in bacteria; in: Cell, (published online: 2022-06-03 and in: Volume 185, Issue 13, P2338-2353.E18, 2022-06-23), Cell
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