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Working Towards Less Virulent Bacteria

​Researchers at CEA-BIG and IBS have developed inhibitors of a protein involved in the virulence of Gram-negative bacteria and have deciphered their mode of operation.

Published on 28 April 2017
​To tackle the major public health issue of antibiotic resistance, scientists look for new approaches to treat infections. One of them consists in targeting the biological systems that bacteria implement to meet their vital needs—feeding themselves, defending themselves, and proliferating. For example, protein FUR controls the expression of the genes involved in the virulence of certain bacteria known as Gram-negative (Escherichia coli, in particular), even though it is not present in humans. Therefore it is a prime target since the inactivation of the gene which produces it would attenuate the pathogenic bacteriological virulence without discomfort to humans.

Researchers at CEA-BIG, IBS and Grenoble Alpes University have developed FUR inhibitors in the form of linear chains of peptides comprised of 8 to 13 amino acids. They studied their inhibition mechanisms and showed that since protein FUR no longer accesses the DNA, it no longer controls the virulence of the Gram-negative bacterium.

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