Toward improved antibiotics using proteins from marine diatoms

Sep 08, 2008
Researchers report a step toward development of a new type of antibiotic using proteins from marine diatoms. The above diatoms were living between crystals of sea ice in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. Credit: NOAA

Researchers in Florida are reporting an advance toward tapping the enormous potential of an emerging new group of antibiotics identical to certain germ-fighting proteins found in the human immune system. Their study, which may help fight the growing epidemic of drug-resistant infections, is in the current (August) issue of ACS' Biomacromolecules.

In the new study, D. Matthew Eby, Glenn Johnson, and Karen Farrington point out that scientists have long eyed the germ-fighting potential of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs).

These small proteins fight a wide range of bacteria and fungi in the body and have the potential to be developed into powerful drugs to overcome infections that are resistant to conventional drugs. But scientists report difficulty producing effective AMPs because the antibiotics are fragile and easily destroyed in the body. An effective way to stabilize them is needed, they say.

In laboratory studies, the researchers showed that the coating protected the antibiotics from destruction by other chemicals while allowing the release of a controlled antibiotic dose for an extended period of time. These features are key to the effective use of AMPs as antibiotics, they say.

Article: "Synthesis of Bioinorganic Antimicrobial Peptide Nanoparticles with Potential Therapeutic Properties", dx.doi.org/10.1021/bm800512e

Source: ACS

Explore further: Program predicts placement of chemical tags that control gene activity

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Entrepreneurs aren't overconfident gamblers

1 hour ago

Leaving one's job to become an entrepreneur is inarguably risky. But it may not be the fear of risk that makes entrepreneurs more determined to succeed. A new study finds entrepreneurs are also concerned about what they might ...

New complex oxides could advance memory devices

1 hour ago

The quest for the ultimate memory device for computing may have just taken an encouraging step forward. Researchers at The City College of New York led by chemist Stephen O'Brien have discovered new complex ...

Recommended for you

A refined approach to proteins at low resolution

Sep 19, 2014

Membrane proteins and large protein complexes are notoriously difficult to study with X-ray crystallography, not least because they are often very difficult, if not impossible, to crystallize, but also because ...

Base-pairing protects DNA from UV damage

Sep 19, 2014

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich researchers have discovered a further function of the base-pairing that holds the two strands of the DNA double helix together: it plays a crucial role in protecting ...

Smartgels are thicker than water

Sep 19, 2014

Transforming substances from liquids into gels plays an important role across many industries, including cosmetics, medicine, and energy. But the transformation process, called gelation, where manufacturers ...

User comments : 0