Cockroach brains could be rich stores of new antibiotics

Sep 06, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Cockroaches could be more of a health benefit than a health hazard according to scientists from The University of Nottingham.

Experts from the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science have discovered powerful antibiotic properties in the brains of and locusts which could lead to novel treatments for multi-drug resistant bacterial infections. They found that the tissues of the brain and nervous system of the insects were able to kill more than 90 per cent of MRSA and pathogenic Escherichia coli, without harming human .

Simon Lee, a postgraduate researcher presented their work at the Society for General Microbiology’s autumn meeting which is being held at The University of Nottingham between the 6 and 9 September 2010. The research has identified up to nine different in the insect tissues that were toxic to bacteria.

Simon Lee said: “We hope that these molecules could eventually be developed into treatments for E. coli and MRSA infections that are increasingly resistant to current drugs. These new could potentially provide alternatives to currently available drugs that may be effective but have serious and unwanted side effects.”

Dr Naveed Khan, an Associate Professor of Molecular Microbiology who is supervising Simon Lee’s work said: “Superbugs such as MRSA have developed resistance against the chemotherapeutic artillery that we throw at them. They have shown the ability to cause untreatable infections, and have become a major threat in our fight against bacterial diseases. Thus, there is a continuous need to find additional sources of novel antimicrobials to confront this menace.”

Using state-of-the-art analytical tools, Dr Khan and his team are studying the specific properties of the antibacterial molecules. Research is currently underway to test the potency of these molecules against a variety of emerging superbugs such as Acinetobacter, Pseudomonas and Burkholderia.

Mr Lee explained why it is unsurprising that insects secrete their own . He said: “Insects often live in unsanitary and unhygienic environments where they encounter many different types of bacteria. It is therefore logical that they have developed ways of protecting themselves against micro-organisms.”

Explore further: Surprise: Lost stem cells naturally replaced by non-stem cells, fly research suggests

Related Stories

Marijuana ingredients show promise in battling superbugs

Sep 08, 2008

Substances in marijuana show promise for fighting deadly drug-resistant bacterial infections, including so-called "superbugs," without causing the drug's mood-altering effects, scientists in Italy and the United Kingdom are ...

New antibiotic beats superbugs at their own game

Jul 03, 2008

The problem with antibiotics is that, eventually, bacteria outsmart them and become resistant. But by targeting the gene that confers such resistance, a new drug may be able to finally outwit them. Rockefeller ...

Recommended for you

For resetting circadian rhythms, neural cooperation is key

13 hours ago

Fruit flies are pretty predictable when it comes to scheduling their days, with peaks of activity at dawn and dusk and rest times in between. Now, researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Cell Reports on April 17th h ...

Rapid and accurate mRNA detection in plant tissues

14 hours ago

Gene expression is the process whereby the genetic information of DNA is used to manufacture functional products, such as proteins, which have numerous different functions in living organisms. Messenger RNA (mRNA) serves ...

For cells, internal stress leads to unique shapes

Apr 16, 2014

From far away, the top of a leaf looks like one seamless surface; however, up close, that smooth exterior is actually made up of a patchwork of cells in a variety of shapes and sizes. Interested in how these ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

ormondotvos
5 / 5 (1) Sep 06, 2010
Maybe WE'll be the last species left on earth!
Arikin
not rated yet Sep 06, 2010
Well we won't run out of a steady supply if we can't synthesize these ourselves...

More news stories

Deadly human pathogen Cryptococcus fully sequenced

Within each strand of DNA lies the blueprint for building an organism, along with the keys to its evolution and survival. These genetic instructions can give valuable insight into why pathogens like Cryptococcus ne ...

Biologists help solve fungi mysteries

(Phys.org) —A new genetic analysis revealing the previously unknown biodiversity and distribution of thousands of fungi in North America might also reveal a previously underappreciated contributor to climate ...

Better thermal-imaging lens from waste sulfur

Sulfur left over from refining fossil fuels can be transformed into cheap, lightweight, plastic lenses for infrared devices, including night-vision goggles, a University of Arizona-led international team ...

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...