A drug currently being used to treat ischemic strokes may prove to be a significant advance in the treatment of tuberculosis and ulcers. In a new research report appearing online in The FASEB Journal, a compound called ebselen effectively inhibits the thioredoxin reductase system in a wide variety of bacteria, including Helicobacter pylori which causes gastric ulcers and Mycobacterium tuberculosis which causes tuberculosis. Thioredoxin and thioredoxin reductase proteins are essential for bacteria to make new DNA, and protect them against oxidative stress caused by the immune system. Targeting this system with ebselen, and others compounds like it, represents a new approach toward eradicating these bacteria.
"This new antibacterial principle provides better chances of surviving an infection," said Arne Holmgren, M.D., Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Division of Biochemistry in the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics, at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. "Since ebselen is also an antioxidant, the present mechanism can be described as a 'two for the price of one' antioxidant action in inflammation, and specific targeting of multi-resistant bacterial complications and sepsis."
Building on previous observations where ebselen has shown antibacterial properties against some bacteria, Holmgren and colleagues hypothesized that the bacteria sensitive to ebselen relied solely on thioredoxin and thioredoxin reductase for essential cellular processes. They investigated this by testing it on strains of E. coli with deletions in the genes for thioredoxin, thioredoxin reductase and the glutaredoxin system. They found that strains with deletions in the genes coding for glutaredoxin system were much more sensitive than normal bacteria. Researchers further tested ebselen against Helicobacter pylori and Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which both naturally lack the glutaredoxin system and are frequently resistant to many commonly used antibiotics, and found both to be sensitive to ebselen.
"As rapidly as these organisms evolve, we need new drugs sooner rather than later," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. "The fact that these scientists have found a new target for killing some of the most resistant bacteria is great news, but the fact that we already have at least one drug which we could possibly use now makes the news even better."
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology: http://www.faseb.org
This press release was posted to serve as a topic for discussion. Please comment below. We try our best to only post press releases that are associated with peer reviewed scientific literature. Critical discussions of the research are appreciated. If you need help finding a link to the original article, please contact us on twitter or via e-mail.
Pigs ‘edited’ with a warthog gene to resist African swine fever could help spawn GM animal farms in the UK
Mouse House to make naturalist biopic, six years after box-office failure of Creation, starring Paul Bettany
International team spends 10 years making inroads into treatment of bacterium which kills up to half of those it infects
You may not know it, but you probably have some Neanderthal in you. For people around the world, except sub-Saharan Africans, about 1 to 3 percent of their DNA comes from Neanderthals, our close cousins who disappeared roughly 39,000 years ago.
Research at Yale plotted what happened in the brains of two scientists as they held a conversation
From medicines to jet fuel, we have so many reasons to celebrate the microbes we live with every day
Genome sequencing indicates Kennewick Man is Native American, reopening the bitter battle over whether he should be reburied or studied
In the article on the discovery of dinosaurs (They’re back, Review, 6 June) you state: “In Sussex, a local doctor uncovered fragmentary remains of what appeared to be two more species of colossal extinct land reptiles.” You grossly underplay the contribution of Lewes-born Gideon Mantell, geologist and palaeontologist, author and diarist, friend to princes and international scholars as well as local doctor. Mantell not only discovered (aided by his wife) the first remains of the iguanodon in 1824 but named it – as it resembled the tooth of an iguana. This was the first known land dinosaur, Mary Anning having identified the first sea-living dinosaur.Mantell went on to put together more pieces of the jigsaw with extra fossil discoveries. In contrast to Richard Owen, whose models form the basis for the Crystal Palace dinosaurs, Mantell stated correctly that iguanodon would have walked on their back legs, using their forearms to fight or gather food. He did, however, attribute the thumb spike to a nose horn though later corrected this assumption. The Natural History Museum has a display on Gideon and his wife Mary’s contribution as well as the large “Mantell-piece” of Iguanodon fossils that he had on show in his museum in Brighton. He sold it, along with many more priceless items, to the British Museum in 1838. Gideon Mantell’s reputation deserves better than your throwaway remark. Debby MatthewsLewes, East Sussex Continue reading...
Unique triangular hairs help keep Saharan silver ants cool at 70°C by manipulating the physics of light
Most animals wouldn't confront a fearsome predator like a lion. But through sophisticated group work, hyenas launch successful raids