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Antibiotic sets up roadblock to kill bacteria

Americas, Sat, 25 Oct 2008 IANS

Washington Oct 25 (IANS) Scientists have edged closer to developing more effective drugs by identifying how an antibiotic sets up roadblocks to halt bacterial growth.


Until now, researchers did not know the mechanism behind how the antibiotic actually killed the bacteria.



For example, myxopyronin, an antibiotic, is a natural substance generated by bacteria to fend off other bacteria. It is known to have inherited the actions of an enzyme called RNA polymerase, which activates gene expression and is essential for a cell's life.



Key to investigating this mechanism is the use of the powerful imaging technique X-ray crystallography, which allows researchers to see the fine details of the linkage between the antibiotic and its target, according to an Ohio State release. The study was published online in Nature.



'This is the first antibiotic that we know that inhibits polymerase before it even starts RNA synthesis,' said Irina Artsimovitch, a co-author of the study and an associate professor of microbiology at Ohio State University.


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