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Compound defeats drug-resistant bacteria

When drugs are developed to combat infection, bacteria fight back by coming up with a deterrent. A newly developed compound makes the bacteria vulnerable again.

A particularly ingenious weapon in bacteria’s arsenal is the drug efflux pump—proteins located in the membranes of bacteria that can recognize and expel drugs that have breached the membranes. In some cases, the bacterial pumps have become so advanced they can recognize and expel drugs with completely different structures and mechanisms.

“This turns out to be a real problem in clinical settings, especially when a bacterial pathogen acquires a gene encoding an efflux pump that acts on multiple antibiotics,” says Jason Sello, assistant professor of chemistry at Brown University.

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