Sunday, July 29, 2012

New alternative to antibiotics: research

Melbourne researchers say they have discovered the atomic structure of an antibacterial viral protein that could be used as an alternative to antibiotics.

Researchers say PlyC, a viral protein known as bacteriophage lysin, was first identified in 1925 but was abandoned as a possible treatment for infections following the discovery of antibiotics.

As bacteria become increasingly resistant to antibiotics, researchers from The Rockefeller University, University of Maryland and Monash University's School of Biomedical Sciences say PlyC is a promising target for the development of new drugs in the future.

According to the research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA, PlyC can kill the bacteria that cause infections from pneumonia to streptococcal toxic shock syndrome.

After six years of investigation, Monash researchers have made a breakthrough in identifying the atomic structure of PlyC, in a bid to understand its antibacterial properties.

"Scientists have been trying to decipher the structure of PlyC for more than 40 years," said Monash's Dr Sheena McGowan.

"Finally knowing what it looks like, and how it attacks bacteria, is a huge step forward." Read More