Sumary of New discovery could help take down drug-resistant bacteria:
- The study, conducted in lab dishes and mice, offers a promising strategy for taking down so-called superbugs without needing to make brand-new antibiotics..
- and with the help of a few newfound chemicals, the research team did just that, said senior author Evgeny Nudler, a professor of biochemistry at the New York University Grossman School of Medicine and an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute..
- In the new study, published Thursday (June 10) in the journal Science, the team took aim at Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, two bacteria that show pervasive resistance to multiple drugs and rank among the leading causes of hospital-acquired infections..
- These bacteria rely on an enzyme called cystathionine gamma-lyase (CSE) to counter the toxic effects of bactericidal antibiotics, drugs that kill bacteria rather than just slowing their growth..
- Specifically, the enzyme produces hydrogen sulfide, a compound that shields bacteria from oxidative stress, or an accumulation of free radicals..
- So the team sifted through more than 3 million small molecules to find chemicals that would block CSE without interacting with mammalian cells, and they found three strong candidates..
- In lab dishes, the newfound molecules made bactericidal antibiotics two- to 15-fold more potent against the microbes, depending on the antibiotic being used and the bacterial strain being targeted..
- One of the small molecules also improved the survival of antibiotic-treated mice that had been infected with either S….