WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2016

New study may offer alternative to antibiotic treatment

A study conducted by Technische Universitaet Muenchen researchers recently discovered two mechanisms that may permanently kill the proteases of bacterial diseases, such as tuberculosis, without having to harm all active centers of the cell protein.

Chair for Biochemistry leader Professor Michael Groll, Head of Chair for Organic Chemistry II at Technische Universitaet Muenchen Professor Stephan Sieber and doctoral candidates at Sieber's chair Roman Kolb and Malte Gersch discovered the mechanisms, which may provide an alternative to antibiotic treatment for bacterial pathogens.

The researchers discovered two mechanisms. The first disrupts the way in which the amino acids, necessary for the development of protease subunits, are organized, which divides the protease and deactivates it. The second method attacks the core of the cell's center, which deactivates the cell by splitting the primary amino acid, making the cell lose its function.

"Knowing the ways in which substances deactivate the proteases is a huge advance," Gersch said. "We can now optimize the substances and possibly also apply the principle to other proteases."

Both methods are innovative and may offer an alternative to traditional antibiotics as a way to fight off bacterial pathogens, such as Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. The methods rely on the body's immune system to permanently fight off a bacterial infection.

"Although the bacteria are not completely disarmed, they produce significantly fewer toxins that are conducive to inflammation," Gersch said. "The basic idea is that we give the immune system more time to handle the pathogens on its own while the formation of new resistances is suppressed."

The research team plans to continue its studies to determine if the new methodology can be effective against live bacterial strains.