Using viral proteins to fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria
Clostridium difficile infection is an increasingly common problem, especially in hospitals, where the characteristics of the bacteria makes it difficult to remove them.
At present, antibiotics are used to treat infections, but C. difficile is an expert in acquiring resistance, which means that the amount of antibiotics effective against it is diminishing.
In research being carried out at the Institute of Food Research (IFR) Biotechnology and dependent of the Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), United Kingdom, is exploring the possibility of using proteins produced by viruses that destroy the bacterial cells in the fight against microbial infections from medical potentially dangerous.
Bacteriophages viruses produce endolisinas that act specifically against certain bacteria, and the IFR has been studying one that destroys the Clostridium difficile, common and dangerous source of infections acquired in hospitals. The new study shows that it is possible to “adjust” properties of these endolisinas to increase its effectiveness and promote its development as a new weapon in the war against these bacteria so tenacious.
And in this line of research is very active in the search for new antimicrobial agents. In the IFR, Melinda Mayer and Arjan Narbad have focused on the endolisinas of bacteriophages viruses. These are relatively short proteins produced by viruses, which act very specifically against certain species of bacteria, opening gaps in their cell wall. Part of the research has been conducted with colleagues from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Hamburg, Germany.