Could the Australian Synchrotron help to find a superbug supercure?

Tuesday, 06 June, 2017

Professor vrielink

Australian scientist Professor Alice Vrielink from the University of Western Australia, believes so.

“The rise of multidrug resistance in bacteria has led to the dramatic increase in the number of deaths worldwide from bacterial-mediated sepsis,” said Professor Vrielink.

“This is a major public health threat that has the potential to claim the lives of millions of people every year,” she said.

“At the Australian Synchrotron we used a technique called X-ray crystallography to map the three-dimensional shape of a protein, called EptA, which causes resistance to antibiotics,” said Professor Vrielink.

Professor Michael James, head of science at the Australian Synchrotron, explains why this is significant: “By understanding the structure of a protein, researchers can unlock its function, which will allow scientists to design new and effective treatments to treat the bacteria.”

Results so far provide novel insights into the mechanism of endotoxin modification and will aid a structure-guided rational drug design approach to treat multidrug-resistant bacterial infections.

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