Chemical attraction gives rattlesnake peptide the bite on superbugs | 3/15/2018 | Staff
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Researchers have shown why a fragment of a protein from the venom gland of rattlesnakes could be the basis for an alternative to conventional antibiotics.

The University of Queensland's Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB) was part of an international study that investigated how a part of the crotalidicin peptide kills bacteria, without impacting healthy cells.

IMB - Dr - Sónia - Troeira - Henriques

IMB's Dr. Sónia Troeira Henriques said the research was significant due to the increase in drug-resistant strains of bacteria, and the scarcity of conventional antibiotics in development.

"This is an example of taking what nature has given us and trying to understand how it works, so we can modify it to be more potent, more stable or more drug-like, to use as an alternative to what we have in our pharmacy now."

Research - Targets - Surface - Bacteria - Attractions

The research showed the peptide fragment targets the surface of the bacteria through electrostatic attractions, caused by differences in membrane properties.

"The peptide is positive while the bacteria is negative, allowing it to kill the bacteria by inserting and disrupting the membrane," Dr. Henriques said.

Cells - Body - Infection

"Because the cells in the body hosting the infection are neutral, they are not disrupted."

The project was led by...
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