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Toxic wasp venom could lead to radical news drugs that kill off superbugs resistant to antibiotics.
Researchers at MIT studying the antimicrobial properties of a toxin normally found in a South American wasp, created variants that are potent against bacteria but nontoxic to human cells.
Study - Mice - Researchers - Peptide - Pseudomonas
In a study in mice, the researchers found that their strongest peptide could completely eliminate Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a strain of bacteria that causes respiratory and other infections and is resistant to most antibiotics.
'We've repurposed a toxic molecule into one that is a viable molecule to treat infections,' says Cesar de la Fuente-Nunez, an MIT postdoc who led the paper in the journal Nature Communications Biology.
Structure - Function - Peptides - Properties - Activity
'By systematically analyzing the structure and function of these peptides, we've been able to tune their properties and activity.'
The venom of insects such as wasps and bees is full of compounds that can kill bacteria.
Compounds - Humans - Drugs
Unfortunately, many of these compounds are also toxic for humans, making it impossible to use them as antibiotic drugs.
As part of their immune defenses, many organisms, including humans, produce peptides that can kill bacteria.
Emergence - Bacteria - Scientists
To help fight the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, many scientists have been...
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