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Bacterial genes energy-sensing switch discovery could have broad implications

Biochemists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have discovered a genetic sequence that can alter its host gene's activity in response to cellular energy levels. The scientists have found this particular energy-sensing switch in bacterial genes, which could make it a target for a powerful new class of antibiotics. If similar energy-sensing switches are also identified for human genes, they may be useful for treating metabolism-related disorders such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

"This discovery adds a new dimension to our understanding of how cells sense and manage their energy levels, which is one of the most important processes in biology," said the study's senior author, Martha J. Fedor, a professor the departments of Chemical Physiology and Molecular Biology and a member of the Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology at TSRI. The findings are described online ahead of print on October 21, 2012, in the journal Nature Chemical Biology.
 
 

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