Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Drug kills cells through novel mechanism

Date:
December 17, 2009
Source:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Summary:
Researchers have discovered that the drug hydroxyurea kills bacteria by inducing them to produce molecules toxic to themselves -- a conclusion that raises the possibility of finding new antibiotics that use similar mechanisms.

MIT and Boston University researchers have discovered that the drug hydroxyurea kills bacteria by inducing them to produce molecules toxic to themselves -- a conclusion that raises the possibility of finding new antibiotics that use similar mechanisms.

Hydroxyurea inhibits the enzyme critical for making the building blocks for DNA, so for decades it has been used to study the consequences of inhibiting DNA replication in E. coli, yeast and mammalian cells. It is also sometimes used in chemotherapy to halt the growth of cancer cells.

The research team, led by biologist Graham Walker of MIT and bioengineer James Collins of Boston University, showed that cells don't die after hydroxyurea treatment because their DNA replication is blocked, but because the blockage sets in motion a chain of cellular events that culminates in the production of hydroxyl radicals. Those radicals are highly reactive and can damage cellular molecules such as nucleic acids, lipids and proteins.

Collins has previously shown that three different antibiotics, which each inhibit different cell processes, all lead to production of hydroxyl radicals, which play a role in killing the cells.

"This naturally leads to the thought that one could perhaps find a new class of antibiotic that acts further down the chain(s) of events that stimulate hydroxyl radical production," says Walker.

The findings could also aid in the development of adjuvants -- small molecules that would enhance the lethality of current antibiotics, says Collins.

The researchers exposed E. coli to hydroxyurea, provoking them to activate a DNA repair system called SOS. This response keeps the cells alive for several hours, but eventually produces hydroxyl radicals that kill the bacteria.

Next steps: In future studies, Walker hopes to delve further into the mechanism of bacterial response to hydroxyrurea and the sequence of events that ultimately kills them.

Funding: National Institutes of Health, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, National Science Foundation, National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, National Cancer Institute, MIT Center for Environmental Health Sciences.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The original article was written by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Bryan Davies et al. Hydroxyurea Induces Hydroxyl Radical-Mediated Cell Death in Escherichia coli. Molecular Cell, Dec. 11, 2009

Cite This Page:

Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "Drug kills cells through novel mechanism." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091210125920.htm>.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (2009, December 17). Drug kills cells through novel mechanism. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091210125920.htm
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "Drug kills cells through novel mechanism." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091210125920.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tooth Plaque Provides Insight Into Diets Of Ancient People

Tooth Plaque Provides Insight Into Diets Of Ancient People

Newsy (July 19, 2014) Research on plaque from ancient teeth shows that our prehistoric ancestor's had a detailed understanding of plants long before developing agriculture. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Contaminated Water Kills 3 Babies in South African Town

Contaminated Water Kills 3 Babies in South African Town

AFP (July 18, 2014) Contaminated water in South Africa's northwestern town of Bloemhof kills three babies and hospitalises over 500 people. The incident highlights growing fears over water safety in South Africa. Duration: 02:22 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