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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update

SWITZERLAND: Scientists Reveal How Natural Antibiotic Kills Tuberculosis Bacterium


Medical Xpress (09.17.12) Aids Weekly Plus

Researchers in Switzerland have shown that pyridomycin, a natural antibiotic produced by the soil bacterium Dactylosporangium fulvum, may lead to the development of a new antituberculosis drug. According to Stewart Cole, lead author of the study, a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO), and a professor at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland, pyridomycin is a very selective killer of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It is also active against bacteria resistant to isoniazid, a first-line drug for treating TB. The researchers identified a protein called InhA, as the target of the antibiotic. The gene InhA is necessary for producing the InhA protein, which is also a target for the TB drug isoniazid. Pyridomycin binds to a different site on the InhA enzyme than isoniazid. Using live bacteria, the researchers showed that pyridomycin led to depletion of mycolic acids. These are fatty acids that are an essential to the component of the bacterial cell wall. Cole noted that the finding that pyridomycin kills the TB bacterium by inhibiting InhA, even in bacteria resistant to the drug isoniazid, means that there is a possibility of developing pyridomycin or a related agent as treatment for drug-resistant TB. [PNU Editor’s note: The study, “Towards a New Tuberculosis Drug: Pyridomycin – Nature's Isoniazid,” was published ahead of the print version of EMBO Molecular Medicine [17 September 2012; DOI: 0.1002/emmm.201201689])


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