Antimicrobial resistance is one of the biggest healthcare challenges. Overuse and misuse of conventional antibiotics along with their broad spectra have triggered development of multi-drug resistant superbugs.
Researchers at Arizona State University have developed a novel process for producing alternative antimicrobial agents specific for any particular bacterial pathogen. The bacteria of interest are applied to an array of 10,000 random sequence peptides; combination of intracellular staining and membrane labeling of bacterial cells allows distinguishing between binding and lytic peptides directly from the array; active peptides are screened for specificity. This permits design of antibacterial synthetic antibodies that are targeted to specific bacteria without the broad toxicity of naturally-occurring antibacterial peptides.
This process has been demonstrated for E. coli O111:B4, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus mutans, and Bacilus subtilis, but this system is generalizable to create antimicrobial agents with defined characteristics for any pathogen (bacterial, protozoan, fungal, yeast).
Potential ApplicationsHigh-throughput selection of antibacterial candidates specific for any particular pathogen Drug discovery Developing a treatment for antibiotic-resistant superbugs Developing a treatment for other pathogens like protozoa, fungi, yeast
Benefits and Advantages
- Antimicrobial peptides have several advantages
- relatively simple and inexpensive synthesis
- Faster action due to external position of target molecules
- few cases of developed resistance
- selectivity for prokaryotic rather than eukaryotic cells
- Protection of commensal flora
- Possibility to develop a treatment for unknown pathogen in a case of invasion
For more information about the inventor(s) and their research, please see
Dr. Johnston's directory webpage