In 2016, in a widely recognised study, a research team from Tübingen led by Prof Andreas Peschel discovered the first fibupeptide. It is produced by the microbiome itself and the scientists termed it lugdunin, naming it after Staphylococcus lugdunensis bacteria which produce the substance and reside in the mucosa of the human nose. Lugdunin has an unusual chemical structure and consequently constitutes a potential prototype for a completely new class of antibiotics. Amongst other things, it is effective against a type of methicillin-resistant bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which are particularly dangerous for humans. They are particularly dreaded in hospitals where they often target immunocompromised patients. According to a study published in the journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases in November 2018, approximately 670,000 infections with multidrug-resistant pathogens with 33,000 patient deaths were recorded in the EU alone in 2015.
The researchers have now synthesized chemical variations of lugdunin and determined the structural chemical elements responsible for its effects, which also give indications of the antibiotic's mode of action. "Each bacterial cell requires a so-called membrane potential in order to live," explains Schilling. "This means that a pathogen needs different concentrations of electronically charged particles in the cell compared to its outside surroundings. Fibupeptides like lugdunin are able to transport positively charged hydrogen ions across the membrane and consequently dissipate this membrane potential, resulting in a kind of energy standstill," explains the researcher. Consequently, the bacterial cell dies.
Rise - Resistance - Treatment - Infections - Many
The rise of antibiotic resistance is increasingly challenging treatment of bacterial infections. Many of the currently used new antibiotics are only marginally different to antibiotics against which known multidrug-resistance already exist. It may just be a question of a short period time for these new drugs to become ineffective. "Consequently, there is an enormous interest in new antibiotic structures like lugdunin and in their modes...
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Drove my Ford to the fjord, but the fjord was dry. . .