Team Discovers Bacteria’s Resistance To Antibiotics

By Rodney Rafols , Oct 08, 2016 02:43 AM EDT

In recent years there has been much concern over bacteria getting resistant to antibiotics. Bacteria, like most organisms, adapt to its environment and the influences surrounding it. In time bacteria has also learned to adapt to antibiotics, causing many treatments today to become less effective. A team has studied one antibiotic, rifampicin, and why it has become less effective against bacteria.

An enzyme leading to the ineffectiveness of rifampicin is called Rifampicin monooxygenase. A team led by Pablo Sobrado has studied this enzyme using X-ray crystallography, according to Phys Org. In the study, the team has found how the enzyme works and has studied its structure.

The key to the study of the enzyme is a work done by Heba Adbelwhab who is a graduate student from Sobrado's lab and comes from Egypt. Her work has provided much detailed information about the family of enzymes that the rifampicin enzyme belongs. In her, study Heba has given details of the mechanism and action of the enzymes.


"Antibiotic resistance is one of the major problems in modern medicine," Heba has said. She has also said that they now know how the enzyme deactivates rifampicin and are working on a blueprint to inhibit the enzyme, as Virginia Tech News reports.

Rifampicin has been used over the years to treat such diseases as tuberculosis, leprosy and Legionnaire's disease. The antibiotic works by stopping bacteria from making RNA. This is essential in preventing bacteria from spreading. However with rifampicin becoming ineffective dangerous diseases like tuberculosis might become rampant again.

Dr. Sobrado is a professor of Biochemistry at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech. He is also affiliated with the Fralin Life Science Institute and the Virginia Tech Center for Drug Recovery. In collaboration with the study are Professor Jack Tanner from the University of Missouri and Dr. Li-Kai Liu. The study is said to be the first to detail biochemical characterization of a flavoenzyme for antibiotic resistance.

Earlier it has been reported that scientists are making better antibiotics to fight bacteria.

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