Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Molecules for controlling bacterial behavior designed by chemists

Date:
May 13, 2014
Source:
Syracuse University
Summary:
Chemists have figured out how to control multiple bacterial behaviors -- potentially good news for the treatment of infectious diseases and other bacteria-associated issues, without causing drug resistance. "Since the discovery of the first antibiotic, penicillin, in 1928, bacteria have become smarter and have developed resistance to many drugs," says an expert in bio-organic chemistry, nanomaterials and chemical biology. "They've done this by altering their genetic make-up; transferring drug-resistant genes between one another; and creating biofilms, which are multicellular communities where bacteria can be a thousand-fold more resistant to antibiotics."

Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacterium.
Credit: Image courtesy of Syracuse University

Chemists in the College of Arts and Sciences have figured out how to control multiple bacterial behaviors -- potentially good news for the treatment of infectious diseases and other bacteria-associated issues, without causing drug resistance.

Yan-Yeung Luk, associate professor of chemistry, has spearheaded the discovery, in conjunction with his research lab at Syracuse University and the Wang Lab at SUNY Upstate Medical University. Their findings are the subject of a forthcoming article in the journal ChemBioChem (John Wiley & Sons Inc.).

"Since the discovery of the first antibiotic, penicillin, in 1928, bacteria have become smarter and have developed resistance to many drugs," says Luk, an expert in bio-organic chemistry, nanomaterials and chemical biology. "They've done this by altering their genetic make-up; transferring drug-resistant genes between one another; and creating biofilms, which are multicellular communities where bacteria can be a thousand-fold more resistant to antibiotics."

In response, Luk's team has developed a class of chemical agents that does not kill bacteria but, rather, changes their multicellular behaviors. These agents are called disaccharide derivatives, and they mimic a class of natural molecules known as rhamnolipids, which are produced and secreted by the bacterium itself.

Luk says that while non-microbicidal (i.e., "non-killing") molecules are nothing new, his are unique because they target a new, yet-to-be-explained set of biological receptors.

"Rhamnolipids modulate at least three multicellular bioactivities in Pseudomonas aeruginosa," says Luk, referring to the rod-shaped bacterium that causes disease in animals and humans. "The synthetic molecules made by our lab don't exactly look like rhamnolipids, but they can control bioactivities, such as swarming movements, surface adhesion and biofilm formation."

This class, he adds, is non-microbicidal with a wide variety of microbes, thus giving it broad commercial value. It also has the potential to inhibit horizontal gene transfer -- the process by which bacteria share genetic information, such as the ability to be drug-resistant.

In the near future, Luk's team plans to unveil another class of molecules they have designed that not only mimics but also dominates the activities of rhamnolipids.

"Rhamnolipids are already on the market, but our product, with its synthetic flexibility, has just as many applications and may be improved rationally by synthetic design," says Luk, who also holds courtesy appointments in the Department of Biology in the College of Arts and Sciences and in the Department of Biomedical and Chemical Engineering in the College of Engineering and Computer Science. "All of this is subject to ongoing research."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Syracuse University. The original article was written by Rob Enslin. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Syracuse University. "Molecules for controlling bacterial behavior designed by chemists." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140513113607.htm>.
Syracuse University. (2014, May 13). Molecules for controlling bacterial behavior designed by chemists. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140513113607.htm
Syracuse University. "Molecules for controlling bacterial behavior designed by chemists." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140513113607.htm (accessed August 29, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Australian Sheep Gets Long Overdue Haircut

Raw: Australian Sheep Gets Long Overdue Haircut

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) Hoping to break the record for world's wooliest, Shaun the sheep came up 10 pounds shy with his fleece weighing over 50 pounds after being shorn for the first time in years. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Minds Blown: Scientists Develop Fish That Walk On Land

Minds Blown: Scientists Develop Fish That Walk On Land

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) Canadian scientists looking into the very first land animals took a fish out of water and forced it to walk. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Ancient Wine Cellar Found In Israel

Huge Ancient Wine Cellar Found In Israel

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) An international team uncovered a large ancient wine celler that likely belonged to a Cannonite ruler. Video provided by Newsy
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