Engineered E. Coli To Produce New Forms Of Antibiotics

Engineered E. Coli To Produce New Forms Of Antibiotic
The white filter disks holding antibiotics sit on petri dishes
housing erythromycin-resistant Bacillus subtilis. The filter
disks circled in red hold new forms of erythromycin created
by University at Buffalo researchers, and the dark halo around
them indicates that the drug has seeped out of the disk to kill
the surrounding bacteria. (Credit: Guojian Zhang)
Researchers are looking to colonies of the bacteria Escherichia coli (E. coli) to produce new forms of antibiotics - including three that show promise in fighting drug-resistant bacteria. The research was published in the journal Science Advances.
 
For more than a decade, researchers have been studying how to engineer E. coli to generate new varieties of erythromycin, a popular antibiotic. A new study reports that they have done this successfully, harnessing E. coli to synthesize dozens of new forms of the drug that have a slightly different structure from existing versions.
 
Three of these new varieties of erythromycin successfully killed bacteria of the species Bacillus subtilis that were resistant to the original form of erythromycin used clinically.
 
'We're focused on trying to come up with new antibiotics that can overcome antibiotic resistance, and we see this as an important step forward,' the researchers said. 'We have not only created new analogs of erythromycin, but also developed a platform for using E. coli to produce the drug. This opens the door for additional engineering possibilities in the future; it could lead to even more new forms of the drug.'
 
The study is especially important with antibiotic resistance on the rise. Erythromycin is used to treat a variety of illnesses, from pneumonia and whooping cough to skin and urinary tract infections.
 
Based on material originally posted by University at Buffalo.
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