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An Enzyme In A Bacteria Discovered, Could Lead To The Development Of New Antibiotics

First Posted: Jul 04, 2016 04:51 AM EDT
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An enzyme in a bacterium called Verrucosispora Maris, which is found at the bottom of the Pacific ocean, could lead to the development of new antibiotics and other medical treatments. Enzymlogic / Flicker CC BY 2.0

Scientists from the Universities of Bristol and Newcastle discovered an enzyme in a bacterium called Verrucosispora maris that lives at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean that could lead to the development of novel antibiotics and other medical treatments.

Dr. Paul Race, from BrisSynBio, which is a BBSR/EPSRC Synthetic Biology Research Centre at the University of Bristol and the School of Biology at Newcastle University, stated that they found an enzyme known as AbyU, in a bacterium called Verrucosispora Maris (V.maris) that lives on the seabed of the Pacific Ocean. The Maris makes use of the AbyU enzyme to biosynthesize a molecule known as abyssomicin C, which has potent antibiotic properties as reported by Eurekalert.

In the discovery, the researchers also showed that the Diels-Alder reaction, which is the most powerful chemical reactions known and is utilized extensively by synthetic chemists to create many significant molecules that include antibiotics, agrochemicals, and anti-cancer drugs, really exists. This chemical reaction is discovered by Nobel Prize-winning chemists Kurt Alder and Otto Diels.

Dr. Race explained that once they figured out how AbyU was able to make natural antibiotic, they were able to show that it could also perform the Diels-Alder reaction on other molecules that are hard to transform using synthetic chemistry. He further explained that they not only resolved the riddle of the natural Diels-Alderase but also shown that the enzyme can perform Diel-Alder reactions that are stimulating to achieve using synthetic chemistry. This study suggests new possibilities for making new useful molecules that could form the basis of new medicines, commodity chemicals and materials.

Verrucosispora Maris is a marine actinomycete that generates atrop-abyssomicin C and proximicin A, both of which have novel structures and modes of action. It was isolated from a deep marine sediment sample gathered from the East Sea (Sea of Japan). It yields unique polycyclic type 1 polyketide antibiotics, known as the abyssomicins, which are the first known natural product inhibitors of the para-aminobenzoic acid biosynthetic pathway. vancomycin-resistant. The strain also generates proximicin A, a furan analogue of netropsin with novel antitumor properties.

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