Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Small peptides as potential antibiotics

Date:
March 25, 2014
Source:
Ruhr-University Bochum
Summary:
Small peptides attack bacteria in many different ways and may well become a new generation of antibiotics. Biologists have been researching how such peptides kill bacterial cells.

Bacillus subtilis.
Credit: Copyright: RUB, Image: Michaela Wenzel

Small peptides attack bacteria in many different ways and may well become a new generation of antibiotics. Biologists at the Ruhr-Universitδt Bochum (RUB) have been researching how such peptides kill bacterial cells. "It is quite possible that, in ten years time, all of the currently marketed antibiotics will lose their power, because bacteria will have become resistant against all active agents," says Junior Professor Dr Julia Bandow. Consequently, it is high time to develop new antibacterial drugs. Together with colleagues from Germany, Austria, and Canada, she reports on the peptide's mode of action in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA (PNAS).

Drug approval requires a deep understanding of the mechanism of action

The team of Julia Bandow, who heads the RUB's Junior Research Group Microbial Antibiotic Research, has been studying the MP196 peptide as a representative of a group of very small positively charged peptides that consist of some four to ten amino acids. Earlier studies had shown that MP196 is efficient against various bacteria, including particularly problematic multi-resistant pathogens that frequently cause sepsis. How MP196 kills bacteria remained unclear. However, in order for a new substance to be approved as a drug, its mechanism of action has to be fully understood.

Peptide disrupts cell wall biosynthesis and cell respiration

The biologists have closed this gap. They showed that the MP196 peptide integrates into the bacterial cell membrane. In doing so, it delocalises proteins localised at the bacterial cell membrane that participate in vital processes. Two processes in particular are severely affected: MP196 disrupts the biosynthesis of the cell wall, i.e. of the outer envelope that encloses the cell membrane and provides physical stability. It also inhibits cell respiration and, consequently, the production of the energy-storing molecule ATP. This results in cellular energy deficiency, thus preventing the synthesis of macromolecules vital for bacterial growth.

Developing resistances against MP196 may be particularly difficult

"By delocalizing crucial membrane proteins, MP196 disrupts a number of cellular processes that take place at the membrane," says Julia Bandow. "As a result, the development of resistance against the peptide seems particularly difficult." The researchers are confident that MP196 can serve as a scaffold to develop drugs that attack certain classes of bacteria without damaging human cells. The interaction of MP196 with the cell membrane was dependent on the fatty acids present in the membrane. The membrane composition varies not only between human and bacterial cells, but also between different classes of bacteria.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. M. Wenzel, A. I. Chiriac, A. Otto, D. Zweytick, C. May, C. Schumacher, R. Gust, H. B. Albada, M. Penkova, U. Kramer, R. Erdmann, N. Metzler-Nolte, S. K. Straus, E. Bremer, D. Becher, H. Brotz-Oesterhelt, H.-G. Sahl, J. E. Bandow. Small cationic antimicrobial peptides delocalize peripheral membrane proteins. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2014; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1319900111

Cite This Page:

Ruhr-University Bochum. "Small peptides as potential antibiotics." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140325095834.htm>.
Ruhr-University Bochum. (2014, March 25). Small peptides as potential antibiotics. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140325095834.htm
Ruhr-University Bochum. "Small peptides as potential antibiotics." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140325095834.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Working Mother DIY: Pumpkin Pom-Pom

Working Mother DIY: Pumpkin Pom-Pom

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) — How to make a pumpkin pom-pom. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — The pair of rare white northern rhinos bring hope for their species as only six remain in the world. Elly Park reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Bear Cub Strolls Through Oregon Drug Store

Raw: Bear Cub Strolls Through Oregon Drug Store

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) — Shoppers at an Oregon drug store were surprised by a bear cub scurrying down the aisles this past weekend. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Family Pleads for Pet Pig to Stay at Home

Family Pleads for Pet Pig to Stay at Home

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) — The Johnson family lost their battle with the Chesterfield County, Virginia Planning Commission to allow Tucker, their pet pig, to stay in their home, but refuse to let the board keep Tucker away. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
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