Established in 2020 Monday, August 8, 2022


Bacteria-busting proteins offer potential for smarter drugs
PhD scholar Shouya Feng (left) and Professor Si Ming Man. Image courtesy: Dr Chinh Ngo/ANU.



CANBERRA.- A specific group of bacteria-killing proteins inside the immune system could hold the key to developing smarter and more effective drugs capable of eliminating certain infectious diseases including meningitis, pneumonia and sepsis, according to scientists from The Australian National University.

In a new study published in Nature Communications, the ANU researchers demonstrate the potential of these immune proteins, known as guanylate-binding proteins (GBPs), to directly bind to and kill specific types of bacteria.

In addition to laying the foundation for new treatments, these killer proteins can also be used in combination with existing antibiotics to give doctors more options when treating certain types of infectious diseases.

Lead author and Ph.D. scholar Shouya Feng, from The John Curtin School of Medical Research (JCSMR) said this specific type of protein works by "busting open" bacteria—similar to an ax splitting wood in two—destroying the membrane and causing it to die.

"Our immune system is equipped with weapons that can destroy germs. When foreign bodies, such as bacteria, enter our body the immune system triggers a defensive response," Ms. Feng said.

"We believe we can extract and harness the power of these immune system proteins, known as GBP1, and use them to treat a range of infectious diseases, without negatively affecting our body's cells."

Co-author Professor Si Ming Man, also from JCSMR, said disease-causing microbes are continually adapting to and outsmarting current drug treatments, and scientists are always looking to uncover new ways to develop more effective solutions.

According to research carried out by the World Health Organization (WHO), drug-resistant diseases already cause about 700,000 deaths globally each year. By 2050, that figure is estimated to climb to 10 million.

"The extensive use of antibiotics to treat a number of different infectious diseases over many years has made them less effective over time because microbes are continually developing resistance to new and existing treatments, meaning they're staying one step ahead of scientists," Professor Man said.

"We are now finding more and more GBPs that can kill different types of drug-resistant bacteria. This includes bacteria that can cause meningitis, pneumonia and sepsis. The ultimate goal is to use these proteins to eliminate meningitis, pneumonia and sepsis entirely.

"Our research could provide alternatives to increasingly over-used and ineffective antibiotics by offering new methods to combat these multidrug-resistant infections. We expect this work could lay the foundations for a new framework to inform how we can fight continually-evolving diseases for decades to come."







Today's News

August 6, 2022

International researchers confirm museum shrunken head as human remains

Bacteria-busting proteins offer potential for smarter drugs

Researchers create flow-driven rotors at the nanoscale

Similarity between schizophrenia and dementia

Team troubleshoots asteroid-bound Lucy spacecraft across millions of miles

How microglia contribute to Alzheimer's disease

As reflective satellites fill the skies, UArizona students are making sure astronomers can adapt

Mitochondrial DNA mutations linked to heart disease risk

Wide view of early universe hints at galaxy among earliest ever detected

CUHK's study sees a rising trend of multiple myeloma incidence, particularly in older males from high-income countries

New study reveals that climate change will severely impact bird species by 2080

Engineering the microbiome to potentially cure disease

Baboons borrowed a third of their genes from a closely related species

New Stanford animation simulator focuses on finding interesting outcomes

Water can't touch this sanded, powdered surface

Giant viruses build a cell nucleus surprisingly like our own

New method enables efficient sample preparation for single-cell proteomics

A new approach for detecting tumor heterogeneity to assess breast cancer patient outcomes



 


Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez



Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the ResearchNews newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful