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Jul 31, 2019

First pictures of enzyme that drives new class of antibiotics

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Understanding how antibiotic scaffolds are constructed in nature can help scientists prospect for new classes of antibiotics through DNA sequencing and genome mining. Researchers have used this knowledge to help solve the X-ray crystal structure of the enzyme that makes obafluorin—a broad spectrum antibiotic agent made by a fluorescent strain of soil bacteria. The new work from Washington University in St. Louis and the University at Buffalo is published July 31 in the journal Nature Communications.

A multi-part called a nonribosomal peptide synthetase produces the highly reactive beta-lactone ring that is responsible for obafluorin’s antimicrobial activity.

“Obafluorin has a novel structure compared to all FDA-approved antibiotics,” said Timothy Wencewicz, assistant professor of chemistry in Arts & Sciences. “In the long term, we really need new structural classes of antibiotics that have never been contaminated by clinical resistance from established antibiotic classes.”

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