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Going undercover to fight tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is one of the most widespread life-threatening infectious diseases. Not only does antibiotic resistance make treatment increasingly difficult, but the bacteria's relatively impermeable mycomembrane also limits the effectiveness of many drugs. In search of new antibiotics, researchers have developed a structural analogue of mycolic acid, the essential membrane building block. This drug blocks key enzymes used in mycomembrane biosynthesis, significantly increasing the effectiveness of conventional antibiotics.

The mycomembrane of the tuberculosis pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis is a lipid double-layer that forms an outer barrier. Mycolic acids are a critical component. They are branched β-hydroxylated fatty acids with two long hydrocarbon chains. The biosynthesis of the mycolic acids and their incorporation into the mycomembrane involve a series of critical enzymatic steps in which the mycolic acid molecules are bound to serine groups of various enzymes through ester bonds.

 

www.sciencedaily.com


09:46 - 2017/12/25    /    number : 56314    /    Show Count : 63


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