Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Newly Identified Enzyme Treats Deadly Bacterial Infections In Mice

Date:
July 7, 2008
Source:
Rockefeller University
Summary:
By the time antibiotics made their clinical debut 70 years ago, bacteria had long evolved strategies to shield themselves. For billions of years, bacteria hurled toxic molecules at each other in the struggle to prosper, and those that withstood the chemical onslaught marched on. Now, with an uptick in antibiotic-resistant bacteria reaching alarming proportions, scientists have identified an enzyme produced in viruses (called bacteriophages) that could stop these one-celled powerhouses dead in their tracks.

By the time antibiotics made their clinical debut 70 years ago, bacteria had long evolved strategies to shield themselves. For billions of years, bacteria hurled toxic molecules at each other in the struggle to prosper, and those that withstood the chemical onslaught marched on.

Now, with an uptick in antibiotic-resistant bacteria reaching alarming proportions, Rockefeller University scientists have identified an enzyme produced in viruses (called bacteriophages) that could stop these one-celled powerhouses dead in their tracks.

In new research in The Journal of Infectious Diseases, scientists led by Vincent Fischetti, head of the Laboratory of Bacterial Pathogenesis and Immunology, reveal that the newly identified enzyme, Cpl-1, can successfully treat symptoms of bacterial meningitis in young mice infected with Streptococcus pneumoniae, a highly resistant and deadly strain of bacteria. At a time when antibiotics have continued to prove futile, these findings may provide a solution to one of the more serious public health problems to hit this century.

“We have reached another critical milestone,” says Fischetti, who previously showed that Cpl-1 prevents ear infections in mice. “To argue that these enzymes can be clinically effective, we had to prove that they not only kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria but also reverse their symptoms of disease. And that’s what we did.”

Working with colleagues from the Institute for Infectious Diseases in Bern, Switzerland, Fischetti found that young mice infected with S. pneumoniae and then treated 18 hours later, once symptoms began, survived the potentially deadly infection. Moreover, Cpl-1 destroyed all traces of the most resistant and virulent strains of S. pneumoniae. In a test tube, this eradication took seconds; in the animal, it took a mere four hours and without collateral damage, suggesting that in mice, Cpl-1 is both a selective and safe treatment for drug-resistant bacterial meningitis.

Unlike the guerrilla warfare tactics of antibiotics, which give bacteria time to assemble their resources and develop resistance, phage enzymes strike with blitzkrieg speed and surprise, preventing bacteria from organizing a coherent defense. Without an effective strategy to fight them, bacteria are faced with a war they may not be able to win.

“We have had nothing to control these invasive diseases,” says Fischetti. “This approach may finally give us something.”


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Grandgirard et al. Phage Lytic Enzyme Cpl‐1 for Antibacterial Therapy in Experimental Pneumococcal Meningitis. The Journal of Infectious Diseases, 2008; 197 (11): 1519 DOI: 10.1086/587942

Cite This Page:

Rockefeller University. "Newly Identified Enzyme Treats Deadly Bacterial Infections In Mice." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 July 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080703180608.htm>.
Rockefeller University. (2008, July 7). Newly Identified Enzyme Treats Deadly Bacterial Infections In Mice. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080703180608.htm
Rockefeller University. "Newly Identified Enzyme Treats Deadly Bacterial Infections In Mice." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080703180608.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

AFP (Apr. 14, 2014) To curb the growing numbers of feral cats in the US capital, the Washington Humane Society is encouraging residents to set traps and bring the animals to a sterilization clinic, after which they are released.. Duration: 02:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
After Attack, Officials Kill 5 Bears in Florida

After Attack, Officials Kill 5 Bears in Florida

AP (Apr. 14, 2014) Florida wildlife officials say they have killed five bears following an attack on a woman in a suburban subdivision in central Florida. Forty-five year-old Terri Frana was attacked by a large bear in her driveway Saturday. (April 14) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Uruguay Opens Its First Cannabis Library

Uruguay Opens Its First Cannabis Library

AFP (Apr. 13, 2014) Uruguay opened its first Cannabis Library in Montevideo on Saturday, where people can come and read books on cannabis or take classes on how to grow the plant or even how to cook with it. Duration: 01:20 Video provided by AFP
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:
from the past week

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