Scientists Finally Discover How an Antibiotic is Produced in Nature

Published By : 27 Oct 2014 | Published By : QYRESEARCH

According to a report in the Nature journal, researchers have identified how a powerful and strong antibiotic agent is created in nature. This research study is expected to open up several research avenues into thousands of molecules of the same type. This will also prove its usefulness in the field of medicine. 

This research team has concentrated on a group of compounds that exhibit varied antibiotic properties. A very well known compound is nisin, which is a naturally occurring product in milk and it can undergo synthesis in the lab and can be added as a preservative in food items.

During the late 1960s, nisin was used for combating food-borne pathogens. For a long time, researchers and scientists have understood the nisin gene sequence and these can be arranged in a chain of amino acids that get encoded by this particular gene. These amino acids are known as peptides. However, the peptide goes through several changes within the cell after it gets created and the subsequent modifications give it the final function and form. For more than quarter of a century, researchers have tried to identify the way in which these changes take place.

According to a chemistry professor at the University of Illinois, peptides resemble spaghetti since they are too flexible to perform their jobs. Therefore, peptides are generally cyclical.

Special types of enzymes are designed to perform this task. An enzyme called dehydratase in nisin helps to eliminate the excess water in it in order to give it the three dimensional structure. 

The very first step is to convert the spaghetti like peptide into a structure that is five ringed. These rings play a very crucial role in nisin’s antibiotic function. Two of the peptide rings cease the construction of the bacterial cell walls and the other three rings help in punching holes in the bacterial membranes. The dual action, thus performed makes it difficult for microbes to develop resistance to the antibiotic.
Back To Top