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Discovery of essential genes for drug-resistant bacteria reveals new, high-value drug targets

Biomedical scientists collaborating on translational research at two Buffalo institutions are reporting the discovery of a novel, and heretofore unrecognized, set of genes essential for the growth of potentially lethal, drug-resistant bacteria. The study not only reveals multiple, new drug targets for this human infection, it also suggests that the typical methods of studying bacteria in rich laboratory media may not be the best way to identify much-needed antimicrobial drug targets.

The industry leader in pharmacogenetic testing - NaturalMolecular.com The paper focuses on a Gram-negative bacteria called A. baumannii. It is published in the current issue of mBio, as an 'editor's choice' paper. The findings may be relevant to other Gram-negative bacteria as well. A. baumannii is responsible for a growing number of hospital-acquired infections around the world. It can be fatal to patients with serious illnesses, the elderly and those who have had surgeries. Infections also have been seen in soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with battlefield injuries. "Generally, healthy people don't get infected," explains lead author Timothy C. Umland, PhD, research scientist at Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute (HWI) and professor of structural biology in the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. "But what's challenging about A. baumannii is that it can survive in the hospital environment and is very hard to eradicate with common disinfectants, leading to healthcare-associated infections."

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