Decoding the proteins behind drug-resistant superbugs

December 11, 2011

To create the next line of defense against the most drug-resistant pathogens, Argonne researchers, with colleagues at the Midwest Center for Structural Genomics and Texas A&M University, have determined the structure of a protein that confers drug resistance against our best antibiotics.

The team made the discovery using X-ray crystallography data collected at the Structural Biology Center at the Advanced Photon Source.

Determining the structure allows scientists and companies to study the molecule for weaknesses: places where the structure could be attacked to disrupt its function. The work could provide the foundation for new treatments to fight emerging drug-resistant superbugs.

The paper, "Structure of Apo- and Monometalated Forms of NDM-1—A Highly Potent Carbapenem-Hydrolyzing Metallo-β-Lactamase" is available online.

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