Insight into mechanism of treatment-resistant gonorrhea sets stage for new antibiotics

  31 May 2020

Due to the spread of antibiotic-resistant strains of Neisseria gonorrhoeae, existing treatments for gonorrhea, the sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacterium, are no longer effective. In the absence of a vaccine, there is an urgent need to develop novel treatment options.

“It’s becoming much more difficult to treat gonorrhea infections as a result of antibiotic resistance,” said Christopher Davies, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Medical University of South Carolina. “Antibiotics that used to work against the bug are no longer effective.”

Davies and his team report surprising findings about antibiotic resistance in today’s issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, showing that mutations in an essential protein responsible for resistance affect the binding of the antibiotic to the microbe. Rather than directly blocking binding of the antibiotic, the mutations prevent movements in the protein that help form the binding site for the antibiotic. The findings could offer a strategy for developing new treatments that overpower antibiotic resistance. Avinash Singh, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in the Davies laboratory, is lead author of the article.

Author(s): Caren Doueiry
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