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New Family Of Antibacterial Agents Uncovered

Date:
January 17, 2009
Source:
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Summary:
As bacteria resistant to commonly used antibiotics continue to increase in number, scientists keep searching for new sources of drugs. Researchers have now found a potential new antibiotic agent in the tiny freshwater animal Hydra.

Hydra.
Credit: Wikimedia commons, public domain image.

As bacteria resistant to commonly used antibiotics continue to increase in number, scientists keep searching for new sources of drugs. One potential new bactericide has now been found in the tiny freshwater animal Hydra.

The protein identified by Joachim Gr๖tzinger, Thomas Bosch and colleagues at the University of Kiel, hydramacin-1, is unusual (and also clinically valuable) as it shares virtually no similarity with any other known antibacterial proteins except for two antimicrobials found in another ancient animal, the leech.

Hydramacin proved to be extremely effective though; in a series of laboratory experiments, this protein could kill a wide range of both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, including clinically-isolated drug-resistant strains like Klebsiella oxytoca (a common cause of nosocomial infections). Hydramacin works by sticking to the bacterial surface, promoting the clumping of nearby bacteria, then disrupting the bacterial membrane.

Gr๖tzinger and his team also determined the 3-D shape of hydramacin-1, which revealed that it most closely resembled a superfamily of proteins found in scorpion venom; within this large group, they propose that hydramacin and the two leech proteins are members of a newly designated family called the macins.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jung et al. Hydramacin-1, Structure and Antibacterial Activity of a Protein from the Basal Metazoan Hydra. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2008; 284 (3): 1896 DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M804713200

Cite This Page:

American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. "New Family Of Antibacterial Agents Uncovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 January 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090115190456.htm>.
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. (2009, January 17). New Family Of Antibacterial Agents Uncovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090115190456.htm
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. "New Family Of Antibacterial Agents Uncovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090115190456.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

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