- Scientist turned cowboy lassos key results in our fight against bacterial infections. Image credit: Catherine Pougault from the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle
- ©Diamond Light Source 2014
Konstantinos Beis, from the Department of Life Sciences at Imperial College London, comments, “Successfully treating infectious diseases is currently a huge challenge as bacteria are so good at shrugging off existing antibiotics by developing resistance to them. The structural studies we carried out at Diamond are very exciting as we have identified a key residue in this particular peptide that is important for the recognition of the E. coli receptor and this detailed knowledge, coupled with the fact it has a very stable lasso structure, leads us to believe the peptide could act as a platform for new drugs against bacterial infection.”
There is growing interest in new approaches to tackling bacterial infections as traditional antibiotics made from purely synthetic compounds prove themselves to be not up to the job in the long term. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control estimates that 25,000 patients die each year from infections caused by anti microbial resistant bacteria.
Sylvie Rebuffat, from the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle-CNRS in Paris, adds “My team has been working on this particular peptide for over a decade now and, while these are early stage results, they provide the structural information that we have been waiting for to enable us to establish it as a front runner to aid in the design of new medicine to fight bacterial infections.”
The research was funded by the Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.