Published: Sat, February 17, 2018
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

Dominant Antibiotic Fighting Against Bacterial Strains Discovered In Soil

Dominant Antibiotic Fighting Against Bacterial Strains Discovered In Soil

The resulting antibiotic, named malacidin, was then tested on rats infected with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA. They had speculated that this novel use of calcium was the key to the longevity of these antibiotics.

The findings were published in the journal Nature Microbiology.

A newly discovered family of dirt-dwelling antibiotics could be our best weapon against treatment-resistant "superbugs". While it was taken from daptomycin, is appears to work differently.

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The discovery of a new class of antibiotic medication would be a red-letter event: Researchers haven't brought forth a truly new antimicrobial medication since 1987. (Several of the new study's researchers work for a company called Lodo Therapeutics, whose goal is to discover and develop new drugs.) The antibiotics described in the new study, however, are still years away from being prescribed by doctors - if the medicines even reach that point.

Ever since the mid-1940s, after penicillin was discovered by microbiologist Alexander Fleming and rushed into development, the introduction of new antibiotics has quickly given rise to disease-causing bacteria capable of eluding their effects. In the United States, an estimated 2 million Americans are diagnosed each year with an infection that doesn't respond to antibiotics, and 23,000 will die from those infections. This antibiotic Malacidin, further scores over others because of its ability to prevent development of resistance by the microbes.

Dr. Sean Brady and his colleagues at Rockefeller University in NY analyzed the DNA from more than 1,000 soil samples to find the new drug, which fights bacteria in a novel manner.

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Soil is thought to be a good source of antibiotics as its low-nutrient content forces different bacteria species to fight against each other for survival, making them "stronger". It is also known as an indirect relative a potential antibiotic, daptomycin that utilizes calcium distort the cell walls of bacteria.

To find these molecules, Brady and his colleagues have been using a culture-independent discovery platform that enables them to extract, clone, and sequence DNA from soil samples without having to grow bacteria in the lab. When they found what they were after, they cloned the genes, rearranged them and implanted them in a host organism, using fermentation to expand the sample. By narrowing their search for the DNA signature of calcium dependence, they were able to find a needle in a haystack - and find a promising compound.

"Every place you step, there's 10,000 bacteria, most of which we've never seen", said Brady, an associate professor at Rockefeller University in NY.

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