A two-headed compound obtained from soil bacteria may hold the key to developing the next generation of antibiotics, researchers in the UK report. The compound, called simocyclinone, was found to shut down crucial bacterial enzymes in an unusual two-pronged attack.
It is hoped the research could inspire the development of potent new antibiotics, which could also be less vulnerable to resistance developing against them.
'The emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as MRSA has created a strong need, both clinically and sociologically, to find new antibiotics,' says Anthony Maxwell, who led the research at the John Innes Centre in Norwich, UK. 'To do this, we need to identify a good target - something inside the bacteria that you can knock out, causing it to shut down.'