Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have identified a new compound found in fungi that could pave the way for the development of new antibiotics.
The study was published in the journal Scientific Nature Chemical Biology Identifies the compound Drozocin. The compound kills bacteria by blocking the translation process.
The need for new antibiotics
A large number of bacteria developed Antibiotic resistance, causing millions of deaths. These bacteria develop such resistance that the antibiotics developed cannot stop their growth and kill them. These antibiotic-resistant bacteria are called “superbugs.” The main reason for developing such resistance is that bacteria are capable of doubling in size every 4 to 20 minutes, making bacteria one of the fastest-reproducing organisms. Examples of superbugs include Staphylococcus aureus (‘Golden Staph’ or MRSA) and Neisseria gonorrhoeae (cause of gonorrhea) was once susceptible to penicillin but is now resistant.
A report released by “The Lancet” It is estimated that approximately 1.27 million people die each year from diseases caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The article reported that nearly 5 million people died in 2019 due to infections caused by these superbugs.
Drososin and its applications
Research at the University of Illinois, Chicago suggests that a compound called Drozocin helps prevent bacterial infection by binding to bacterial ribosomes. Binding to ribosomes prevents the DNA from being read, thus preventing the making of proteins. Proteins are integral to life, and without protein production, bacteria cannot perform many of the functions necessary for survival, thus killing themselves.
“Drozocin “Active mutants created within the bacteria forced the bacterial cells to self-destruct,” said Mankin, co-author and researchers.
Drozocin is the second compound in a proline-rich antimicrobial peptide, the first being apidesin from bees. Drozocin and apidesin inhibit translation of ribosomes.
Drozocin undoubtedly has immense potential as a therapeutic agent in the field of medicine for human diseases. But there is another area where Drozocin can be used effectively agriculture. According to a paper published in the Journal of Applied Biology and Biotechnology, plant pathogens cause an annual loss of US$ 33 billion to rice farmers. Crop losses caused by plant pathogens worldwide are estimated at US$220 billion. The development of Drozocin as an agent against plant pathogens and pests is invaluable and will surely reduce the number of crops worldwide.
Future challenges and opportunities
The discovery of the compound in fruit flies is only the first step in the development of many new drugs against bacterial infections. A lot of research needs to be done before it can be used effectively. A challenge lies in understanding the precise mechanisms by which drosocin interacts with various microorganisms. Additionally, researchers must ensure that drozosin is consistent and effective when administered in different forms, such as topical applications, oral medications, and injections.
This compound will undergo many clinical studies and trials, approvals from regulatory boards, etc. before it can be sold as a medicine.