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A New Antibiotic?

Scientists show that peptide-conjugated phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomers can effectively silence essential bacterial genes.

By | October 16, 2013

Scanning electron micrograph of Acinetobacter baumanniiCDCA new type of antibiotic based on DNA/RNA analogs that silence the expression of specific bacterial genes is reported in The Journal of Infectious Diseases today (October 16) by researchers from Oregon State University (OSU), the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and the Corvallis-based firm Sarepta Therapeutics. Called peptide-conjugated phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomers (PPMOs), the compounds were effective at reducing the viability of Acinetobacter lwoffii and A. baumannii both in vitro and in infected mice.

“With infections from drug-resistant pathogens rising rapidly, there is an urgent need to come up with new approaches such as the use of PPMOs to spur antibiotic development,” study coauthor David Greenberg from UT Southwestern noted in a statement. “There is a lot of promise in developing new antibiotics that target specific pathogens as opposed to so-called broad-spectrum antibiotics that target whole classes of bacteria.”

Fierce Drug Delivery noted that a PPMO is  “essentially a synthetic form of microRNA,” such as those that have already been used to silence specific disease-causing genes. While further research is required before PPMOs move to clinical trials, the researchers said their approach shows promise for precisely targeting specific pathogens. “The mechanism that PPMOs use to kill bacteria is revolutionary,” OSU’s Bruce Geller, coauthor on the study, said in a statement. “They can be synthesized to target almost any gene, and in that way avoid the development of antibiotic resistance and the negative impacts sometimes associated with broad-spectrum antibiotics.”

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Comments

Avatar of: Jon M

Jon M

Posts: 1

October 16, 2013

These PPMOs targeting Acinetobacter are based on a body of work using Morpholino oligos to target bacteria, much of it from Prof. Geller's lab. 

Avatar of: PastToTheFuture

PastToTheFuture

Posts: 29

October 17, 2013

Awesome, absolutely awesome. No, not so sexy, but awesome if you know the importance.

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