A New Antibiotic?

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

Tracy Vence
Oct 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.”