Researchers from North Carolina State University have engineered designer biosensors that can detect antibiotic molecules of interest. The biosensors are a first step toward creating antibiotic-producing “factories” within microbes such as E. coli.
Macrolides are a group of naturally occurring small molecules that can have antibiotic, antifungal or anticancer effects. The antibiotic erythromycin is one example – it is a macrolide produced by soil-dwelling bacteria. Researchers are interested in using these natural antibiotics and the microbes that produce them in order to develop new antibiotics; however, microbes that produce antibiotic macrolides only make small amounts of a limited variety of antibiotics.
“Our ultimate goal is to engineer microbes to make new versions of these antibiotics for our use, which will drastically reduce the amount of time and money necessary for new drug testing and development,” says Gavin Williams, associate professor of bio-organic chemistry at NC State and corresponding author of a paper describing the research. “In order to do that, we first need to be able to detect the antibiotic molecules of interest produced by the microbes.”
Williams and his team used a naturally occurring molecular switch – a protein called MphR – as their biosensor. In E. coli, MphR can detect the presence of macrolide antibiotics being secreted by microbes that are attacking E. coli. When MphR senses the antibiotic, it turns on a resistance mechanism to negate the antibiotic’s effects.
The researchers created a large library of MphR protein variants and screened them for the ability to switch on production of a fluorescent green protein when they were in the presence of a desired macrolide. They tested the variants against erythromycin, which MphR already recognizes, and found that some of the MphR variants improved their detection ability tenfold. They also successfully tested the variants against macrolides that were not closely related to erythromycin, such as tylosin.
“Essentially we have co-opted and evolved the MphR sensor system, increasing its sensitivity in recognizing the molecules that we’re interested in,” says Williams. “We know that we can tailor this biosensor and that it will detect the molecules we’re interested in, which will enable us to screen millions of different strains quickly. This is the first step toward high-throughput engineering of antibiotics, where we create vast libraries of genetically modified strains and variants of microbes in order to find the few strains and variants that produce the desired molecule in the desired yield.”
The Latest on: Antibiotics
Pizza Hut vows to remove antibiotics from chicken wings by 2022
on June 20, 2018 at 10:24 am
Pizza Hut is making strides to become the first national pizza company to serve completely antibiotic-free chicken wings. Just last year, the chain successfully removed all antibiotics from poultry served on pizza, and now Pizza Hut is promising to rid ... […]
Pharmalittle: A campaign downplays concerns over antibiotics given animals; U.K. parents step up fight over Vertex drug
on June 20, 2018 at 6:32 am
ello, everyone, and how are you this fine, sunny morning? The middle of the week has arrived, as you may know, so why not celebrate with a delicious cup of stimulation? After all, you made it this far, which is a likely sign of surviving another few days. […]
Pizza Hut Promises to Remove Antibiotics From Chicken Wings by 2022
on June 20, 2018 at 3:27 am
Pizza Hut has promised to move antibiotics from its chicken wings. But you’ll need to wait several years before it becomes official. The popular restaurant chain on Tuesday committed to removing antibiotics from its chicken wings by 2022. Pizza Hut said ... […]
Berkeley Lab, UC Berkeley researchers find method for creating potential antibiotics from soil microbes
on June 20, 2018 at 1:37 am
A team of researchers from UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is working on producing antibiotics through previously unknown soil microbes and released a study in the journal Nature on June 13. The search for new antibiotics is becoming ... […]
The Impact of Antibiotics on Gut Microbes
on June 19, 2018 at 4:57 pm
Our bodies play host to trillions of microorganisms; we carry about one bacterial cell for every human cell. That community of microbes, our microbiome, plays a critical role in our health and researchers are learning more about it (hear about that ... […]
Pizza Hut pledges to drop some chicken antibiotics by 2022
on June 19, 2018 at 3:50 pm
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Yum Brand Inc’s Pizza Hut chain will fully phase out chickens raised with certain antibiotics in its U.S. restaurants by 2022, in the latest push by a major restaurant chain to follow healthier food practices. The restaurant had said ... […]
Pizza Hut plans to take chicken with antibiotics off the menu
on June 19, 2018 at 8:47 am
Pizza Hut plans to take chicken with antibiotics off the menu Pizza Hut is completely cutting antibiotics from their menu. Buzz60's Natasha Abellard has the story. Check out this story on USATODAY.com: https://usat.ly/2JR6a5q […]
Food For Thought - Meat, Dairy And Fish Firms At Risk From Failing To Tackle Climate And Antibiotics
on June 19, 2018 at 7:09 am
Mike Scott, Contributor Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. The spotlight has fallen on sectors including oil and gas, minerals, electricity and automotive, illuminating how they will be disrupted by climate change and efforts to ... […]
Pizza Hut Continues Movement On Food Commitments, Pledges All Chicken Will Be Raised Without Antibiotics By 2022
on June 19, 2018 at 4:42 am
PLANO, Texas, June 19, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Pizza Hut announced today its commitment to serve chicken raised free of antibiotics important to human medicine (per World Health Organization) by 2022. This commitment comprises all chicken, including the ... […]
Can I Drink Alcohol While Taking Antibiotics?
on June 18, 2018 at 10:44 am
Q: Can I drink alcohol while taking antibiotics? A: With some antibiotics, the answer is a definite no. With most, however, the answer may be a cautious yes. Concerns about alcohol and antibiotics may have their roots in the rubber industry of the 1880s. […]
via Google News and Bing News