Bacteria-busting proteins offer potential for smarter drugs

PhD scholar Shouya Feng (left) and Professor Si Ming Man. Credit: Dr Chinh Ngo/ANU

A special group of proteins that kill viruses in the immune system may hold the key to developing smarter and more effective drugs that can fight infections including meningitis, pneumonia and sepsis, according to scientists from the Australian National University (ANU).

In a new study published in Nature communicationANU researchers have demonstrated the ability of these immune proteins, known as guanylate-binding proteins (GBPs), to directly bind to and kill specific strains. bacteria.

In addition to laying the foundation for new treatments, these killer proteins can be used alongside existing antibiotics to give doctors more options when treating certain types of infectious diseases.

Senior author and Ph.D. Expert Shouya Feng, from the John Curtin School of Medical Research (JCSMR) said this specific type. protein it works by “busting open” bacteria—like an ax splitting wood in two—damaging the membrane and causing it to die.

“Our immune system is equipped with weapons that destroy bacteria. When foreign countriessuch as bacteria, enter our body and the immune system triggers a protective response,” said Ms. Feng.

“We believe we can bring out and use the power of these immune system The protein, known as GBP1, is also used to treat a variety of infectious diseases, without harming our own cells.”

Author Professor Si Ming Man, also from JCSMR, said disease-antibiotics continue to adapt and improve current treatment methods, and scientists are always looking to open up new ways to provide effective solutions.

According to a study by the World Health Organization (WHO), drug-resistant diseases are already responsible for nearly 700,000 deaths worldwide each year. By 2050, this number is estimated to exceed 10 million.

“The use of antibiotics to treat many different conditions infectious diseases over the years has made them less effective over time because bacteria continue to develop resistance to new and existing treatments, meaning they stay one step ahead of scientists,” said Professor Man.

“We now have more GBPs that can kill a variety of drug-resistant bacteria. This includes bacteria that cause meningitis, pneumonia and sepsis. The ultimate goal is to use these proteins to eliminate meningitis, pneumonia and sepsis altogether.

“Our research could provide ways to increase the use of ineffective antibiotics by providing new treatments for these multidrug-resistant infections. We hope this work can lay the foundation for a new paradigm to inform how we can fight emerging diseases for years to come.”

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Additional information:
Shouya Feng et al, Pathogen-selective killing by guanylate-binding protein as a molecular mechanism that triggers inflammatory signaling, Nature communication (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-32127-0

hintBacteria-busting proteins offer potential for smart drugs (2022, August 4) retrieved August 4, 2022 from smarter-drugs.html

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