Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Switching To New Anti-bacterial Targets: Riboswitches

Date:
December 17, 2005
Source:
Yale University
Summary:
The recently emerged field of bacterial riboswitches may be a good hunting ground for effective targets against bacterial infection, according to a report by Yale researchers in the journal Chemistry and Biology, who showed that a riboswitch controlling vitamin B1 (thiamine) levels is disrupted in the presence of pyrithiamine, a toxic compound related to the vitamin.

Early studies to understand the malnutrition disease, beri beri, led to the identification of vitamin B1 (thiamine, inset, top), a nutrient found in brown rice but not polished white rice. The thiamine analog pyrithiamine (inset, bottom) has toxic effects in bacteria, fungi, and mammals - now shown to be caused in part by interactions with thiamine-specific riboswitches. Upper image is Aspergillus oryzae, a fungus that contains the riboswitch and is killed by pyrithiamine.
Credit: Image courtesy of Yale University

The recently emerged field of bacterial riboswitches may be a good hunting ground for effective targets against bacterial infection, according to a report by Yale researchers in the journal Chemistry and Biology.

Related Articles


Riboswitches are RNA elements that control gene expression in essential metabolic pathways. Researchers in the laboratory of Ronald R. Breaker, the Henry Ford II Professor of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at Yale, showed that a riboswitch controlling vitamin B1 (thiamine) levels is disrupted in the presence of pyrithiamine, a toxic compound related to the vitamin.

Bacteria and fungi fail to grow in pyrithiamine and become resistant by acquiring mutations in their riboswitches. This work, in combination with the recently solved crystal structures of purine riboswitches, opens a path to the directed design of drugs targeting riboswitches for use as antibiotics.

According to the researchers, it is inevitable that bacteria will evolve and that the drugs we use to cure bacterial infections will eventually become ineffective. While it is often possible to alter existing drugs slightly, they suggest that a longer term and more attractive solution is to create entirely new drugs that target bacteria in completely new ways. This approach lengthens the useful clinical lifetime of a drug and makes it possible to tackle resistant 'superbugs' with combinations of drugs.

The analog, pyrithiamine, was synthesized decades ago to study the then new field of vitamin nutrition. It was quickly found to be toxic but the mechanism was incompletely understood. Breaker and coworkers show that pyrithiamine is metabolized and binds to the riboswitch controlling thiamine.

Co-authors at Yale on the work are Narasimhan Sudarsan, Smadar Cohen-Chalamish, Shingo Nakamura and Gail Mitchell Emilsson. The study was funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, National Institutes of Health, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

Breaker, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, is co founder of BioRelix, a company pursuing licensing of intellectual property related to riboswitches.

###

Citation: Chemistry and Biology : (December 19, 2005)


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Yale University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Yale University. "Switching To New Anti-bacterial Targets: Riboswitches." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 December 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/12/051217005431.htm>.
Yale University. (2005, December 17). Switching To New Anti-bacterial Targets: Riboswitches. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/12/051217005431.htm
Yale University. "Switching To New Anti-bacterial Targets: Riboswitches." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/12/051217005431.htm (accessed March 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Gorilla Falls Into Zoo Moat

Gorilla Falls Into Zoo Moat

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Mar. 31, 2015) A gorilla comes to the rescue of her sister who fell into a moat in Israel&apos;s Safari zoo. Rough cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
California on Alert Over Surge in Sea Lion Strandings

California on Alert Over Surge in Sea Lion Strandings

AFP (Mar. 31, 2015) Since the start of the year, thousands of baby sea lions have washed up on beaches along the west coast of the United States. Marine animal care centers are working around the clock to save the stranded creatures. Duration: 02:06 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Giant Amphibian Fossils Found in Portugal

Giant Amphibian Fossils Found in Portugal

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Mar. 31, 2015) Scientists discover a new species of giant amphibian that was one of the largest predators on earth about 220 million year ago. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rhino Goes on Deadly Rampage in Nepal

Rhino Goes on Deadly Rampage in Nepal

Reuters - News Video Online (Mar. 31, 2015) A rhino runs rampant down a bustling city street, killing one woman and injuring several others, before security personnel chase it back into the forest. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins