Fighting bacteria with a new genre of antibodies

Apr 24, 2013
Fighting bacteria with a new genre of antibodies
To cope with bacteria that shrug off existing antibiotics and sterilization methods, scientists have developed a new family of selective anti-microbial agents that do not rely on traditional antibiotics. Credit: iStockphoto/Thinkstock

In an advance toward coping with bacteria that shrug off existing antibiotics and sterilization methods, scientists are reporting development of a new family of selective antimicrobial agents that do not rely on traditional antibiotics. Their report on these synthetic colloid particles, which can be custom-designed to recognize the shape of specific kinds of bacteria and inactivate them, appears in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Vesselin Paunov and colleagues point out that many bacteria have developed resistance to existing antibiotics. They sought a new approach—one that bacteria would be unable to elude by mutating into drug-resistant forms. Their inspiration was the antibodies that the immune system produces when microbes invade the body. Those antibodies patrol the body for microbes and bind to their surfaces, triggering a chain of events in which the body's and destroys the microbes.

Paunov's team describes development and successful tests of synthetic colloid particles, called "colloid antibodies." Colloids are materials in which of one material are dispersed in another material. Milk is a colloid in which globules of fat are spread throughout water and other materials. The colloid antibody particles are shells packed with a killing agent. They are designed to recognize and bind to specific bacteria.

Laboratory experiments showed that the colloid antibodies attached to and inactivated only their intended targets without harming other cells. "We anticipate that similar shape selective colloid antibodies can potentially become a powerful weapon in the fight against antibiotic-resistant bacteria," say the researchers. "They can also find applications as non-toxic , preventing growth of in various formulations."

The article is titled "Photothermal Colloid Antibodies for Shape-Selective Recognition and Killing of Microorganisms."

Explore further: Potent, puzzling and (now less) toxic: Team discovers how antifungal drug works

More information: Photothermal Colloid Antibodies for Shape-Selective Recognition and Killing of Microorganisms, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2013, 135 (14), pp 5282–5285 DOI: 10.1021/ja400781f

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

(Antibody) orientation matters

Dec 10, 2012

The orientation of antibody binding to bacteria can mean life or death to the bug, according to a study published in The Journal of Experimental Medicine on December 10th. These findings may help explain why these bacter ...

Antibodies trick bacteria into killing each other

Nov 14, 2011

The dominant theory about antibodies is that they directly target and kill disease-causing organisms. In a surprising twist, researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine have discovered that certain antibodies ...

Researchers design Alzheimer's antibodies

Dec 09, 2011

Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed a new method to design antibodies aimed at combating disease. The surprisingly simple process was used to make antibodies that neutralize the ...

Recommended for you

Researchers show fruit flies have latent bioluminescence

Apr 10, 2014

New research from Stephen C. Miller, PhD, associate professor of biochemistry and molecular pharmacology, shows that fruit flies are secretly harboring the biochemistry needed to glow in the dark—otherwise ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Chemists achieve molecular first

(Phys.org) —Chemists from Trinity College Dublin have achieved a long-pursued molecular first by interlocking three molecules through a single point. Developing interlocked molecules is one of the greatest ...

Metals go from strength to strength

To the human hand, metal feels hard, but at the nanoscale it is surprisingly malleable. Push a lump of metal with brute force through a right-angle mould or die, and while it might look much the same to the ...

Tech giants look to skies to spread Internet

The shortest path to the Internet for some remote corners of the world may be through the skies. That is the message from US tech giants seeking to spread the online gospel to hard-to-reach regions.

Patent talk: Google sharpens contact lens vision

(Phys.org) —A report from Patent Bolt brings us one step closer to what Google may have in mind in developing smart contact lenses. According to the discussion Google is interested in the concept of contact ...

Wireless industry makes anti-theft commitment

A trade group for wireless providers said Tuesday that the biggest mobile device manufacturers and carriers will soon put anti-theft tools on the gadgets to try to deter rampant smartphone theft.