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Two Heads Better Than One in New Antibiotic Method

An antibiotic that binds to a well-established target in a novel and unexpected way could be the inspiration for designing new, more potent antibacterial drugs.

"A completely new way to beat bacteria is an exciting find at a time when resistance to existing antibiotics is growing," said Professor Tony Maxwell from the John Innes Centre, lead author on the research to be published in Science. JIC is an institute of the BBSRC.

The antibiotic molecule slots into pockets in the surface of a bacterial enzyme, DNA gyrase, and inhibits its activity. Gyrase is essential for bacteria to survive and grow. However, it is not present in humans so is an ideal, and already established, target for antibiotics.

"If you can knock out this enzyme, you have a potential new drug," says Prof Maxwell.

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