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Game Changer: Scientists Develop New Technique to Test Antibiotic Efficiency

Nov 30, 2016 10:36 AM EST
Three American Scientists Share Nobel Prize In Medicine
Russian scientists have built a system, which measures antimicrobial activity, along with determining the mode of action of a new material.
(Photo : Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A safe, inexpensive, and highly efficient way to speed up and improve the search of new germicides - this is what a team of scientists from the Lomonosov Moscow State University, in collaboration with their colleagues from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology and Gause Institute of New Antibiotics, have developed.

Published in the prominent scientific journal, Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, the experts have built a system, which measures antimicrobial activity, along with determining the mode of action of a new material.

"We've worked out an approach, which allows to in vivo determine not only the mode of action of new promising antimicrobial agents, but also their efficiency. Approach automation has allowed to analyze thousands of compounds per day," Ilya Osterman, Doctor of Chemical Sciences, a researcher of the Chemistry of Natural Compounds Department, at the Faculty of Chemistry of the Lomonosov Moscow State University, the author said.

"At the first stage there was elaborated a gene engineering design, which included two fluorescent proteins. First protein expression depended on the presence of protein synthesis inhibitors, while expression of the second one -- on the presence of DNA synthesis inhibitors. Afterwards, with the help of a hyperresponsive strain of coliform bacteria there was created a reporter, aimed at the detection of corresponding antibiotic types," Osterman shares, in an article by Eureka Alert.

The group created a reporter system based on genes, which code two fluorescent proteins: a far-red protein Katushka2S and RFP, a red fluorescent protein.

"So far, with the help of this approach we've analyzed more than 50 thousands of compounds, discovered new inhibitors of protein and DNA synthesis, which could become the basis of new germicides in the future. The process of screening will be continued," Osterman said further.

The breakthrough technique by the Russian scientists could potentially help solve the problem of the growing number of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

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