A newly discovered antibiotic has been shown to block the synthesis of bacterial cell walls via immutable targets, raising the prospect of a class of drugs that will not lose effect through the development of antimicrobial resistance. Clovibactin, isolated from soil bacteria, targets the cell wall precursor molecules lipid II, lipid III and undecaprenyl phosphate (C55PP), all of which have a pyrophosphate group in common.
A different class of antibiotics could ease the increasing resistance triggered by some gram-negative bacteria. LpxC inhibitors are not new, but all attempts to develop them have failed due to cardiovascular toxicity or ineffectiveness. A modification of the structure of these compounds may have solved the problem. Duke University scientists demonstrated the preclinical safety and efficacy of an LpxC inhibitor candidate against a wide selection of these pathogens.
A chance discovery has led to a new class of antibiotics with multiple arms that interacted with the cell wall of gram-positive bacteria, inhibiting their assembly and disarming them. “It was an accidental discovery. We were using it to stain cells. We also were running evaluations of antibiotics. One of my former students came to me and said: ‘I think we have discovered something that is quite potent as an antibiotic,’” the senior author Xingyu Jiang told BioWorld.