Re­searchers in Ja­pan de­vise method to pro­duce steroid an­tibi­otics

BioSpectrum (Asia) - - Science News -

A group of re­searchers at the Univer­sity of Tokyo, Ja­pan, has de­vel­oped a method to pro­duce steroid an­tibi­otics that do not cause cross-re­sis­tance to other an­tibi­otics. Their find­ings demon­strate how syn­thetic bi­ol­ogy could help pre­vent the rise of an­timi­cro­bial re­sis­tance.

A group of steroid an­tibi­otic com­pounds de­rived from fungi have shown promis­ing an­timi­cro­bial ac­tiv­ity. How­ever, lit­tle is known about the biosyn­thetic path­ways in­volved in the pro­duc­tion of fun­gal steroid an­tibi­otics such as helvolic acid, ham­per­ing ef­forts to pro­duce these use­ful com­pounds at a large scale. Dur­ing the study, the team iden­ti­fied the biosyn­thetic en­zymes in­volved in the pro­duc­tion of helvolic acids. Us­ing this in­for­ma­tion, they con­structed a helvolic acid-pro­duc­ing sys­tem in Aspergillus oryzae, a type of mold. The re­searchers then iso­lated novel helvolic acid analogs by sep­a­rat­ing biosyn­thetic in­ter­me­di­ates from the sys­tem. Re­mark­ably, some of the analogs ex­hib­ited stronger an­timi­cro­bial ac­tiv­ity than helvolic acid. Ac­cord­ing to the re­searchers, this ex­per­i­men­tal ap­proach and re­sults may be use­ful in drug dis­cov­ery and de­vel­op­ment.

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