Архив метки: CDIBB

New “Trojan-horse” antibiotic will help with bacterial disease treatment

Scientists from Skoltech and Institute of Gene Biology (Russian Academy of Sciences) in collaboration with their colleagues from Belgium, led by Skoltech Professor Kostantin Severinov, have described a new antibiotic that destroys bacterial cells using a Trojan-horse mechanism. The new substance was found in bacteria Bacillus amyloliquefaciens. New antibiotic is able to inhibit protein synthesis in bacterial cells and it has a few advantages over “Trojan-horses” previously studied. This study gives a new insight for the future development of novel-antibiotics.

Konstantin Severinov, head of the study, the director of Skoltech Center for Data Intensive Medicine and Biotechnology: “The focus of the new publication is a new antibiotic produced by bacterium Bacillus amyloliquefaciens that was first predicted by means of bioinformatics. Like microcin C, studied in our group before, the new compound acts through a Trojan-horse mechanism but has a unique chemical structure that allows the new drug to inhibit growth of cells that have acquired resistance to microcin C. These findings highlight the importance of DNA sequence mining for uncovering novel bioactive compounds and may lead to development of new antibacterial drugs in the future.”

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Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest problems in modern healthcare. Unfortunately, old antibiotics often become less effective against many bacteria. That’s why scientists actively perform new antibiotics search. One of such antibiotic is microcin C, a prototypical Trojan-horse antibiotic produced by some bacteria commonly found in the gut. Microcin C is an adenylated peptide, with the peptide component ensuring access of a toxic “warhead” to sensitive cells. Upon entry, the peptide is destroyed, releasing the “warhead” that inhibits protein synthesis and preventing bacterial growth.

 The focus of this publication is a new Trojan-horse antibiotic produced by a soil bacterium Bacillus amyloliquefaciens. This new compound obtains several striking features, which set it apart from microcin C. The most important feature that it’s mechanism of action has few specific modifications that reduce the probability of the antibiotic resistance development.

Recently published work by researchers and Skoltech students from the laboratory of Professor Severinov expands the repertoire of antibiotics produced by bacteria. These findings lend themselves to the future development of novel-antibiotics, which may find inspiration in these natural mechanisms.

The results of the work were published in prestigious Journal of the American Chemical Society .

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The fellows of the Systems Biology Program made their first reports

On April this year, Skoltech has launched the Systems biology Fellowship Program. Five young researchers were granted a three-year support of basic research in the broad field of systems biology and data-intensive biology as part of this first of its kind program in Russia. Six months have passed, and it is time for the researchers to present their projects in front of the Expert Panel and Coordinators Board in order to receive the funding of their research for the next year.

Sstem Biology Program Expert Board (right to left): Konstantin Severinov, Dalia Cohen and Manuel Peitsch.

Sstem Biology Program Expert Board (right to left): Konstantin Severinov, Dalia Cohen and Manuel Peitsch

On November 9, the five program fellows presented their preliminary results to the distinguished panel of the expert board: Program coordinator and Skoltech Center for Data-Intensive Biomedicine and Biotechnology (CDIBB) Director, Prof. Konstantin Severinov; Dalia Cohen Ph.D., CSO & Head of Research at Beryllium; Manuel Peitsch Ph.D., CSO at Philip Morris International, a supporter of the program. The Coordinators Board was represented by Skoltech Prof. Mikhail Gelfand and Prof. Dmitry Chudakov, Director of the Department of Genetics and Postgenomic Technologies at the M.M. Shemyakin–Yu.A. Ovchinnikov Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry. The day of presentations concluded with a lecture given by Dalia Cohen on “Targeting MicroRNA With Small Molecules”.

Between the presentations section and the lectures, the program fellows and Skoltech students and postdocs informally discussed scientific and career issues with top scientists working in the systems biology field.

The science presented is of very high quality”, said Dalia Cohen at the end of the day, “The progress is fantastic. The last time I read the applications was in March, and they made a great advancement since then. The projects are super important. The most useful project will be the project that we can translate the results from model system to human. Several of these projects have this potential.”

“The presentations were very good”, added Manuel Peitsch, “I think that the progress is quite good, after only a few months, and it’s off to a good start. I think they all have a different touch and different aspects of system biology, and I think it’s very much a landscape of what is possible in this kind of science. I very much like the diversity of the projects and the questions that are being asked.

“For all of the projects the next year will be the year where a lot of the data will be generated, and a lot of the analysis will happen. I’m looking forward to that. The first year is about collecting the data samples and the data, so I think the really interesting debate will start next year, when the data will flow in, and some of the early analysis will be done. These are very talented young scientists, very serious and dedicated people, and the level of science is absolutely marvelous. I’m excited to learn more about these projects as they develop.”

The fellows and experts of the System Biology Program

 

Prof. Severinov sums up the session and is also positive about the future: “It is always good to know that one did one’s job nicely. We heard presentations by five Skoltech Systems Biology fellows on very diverse subjects and the one thing that really united them was the outstanding quality of science. So program coordinators and Board members must have made the right choices during the highly competitive process of selection of our fellows. We got tantalizing bits of research in progress and there is no doubt in my mind that important discoveries will be made by the fellows in 2017. The Fellows program has been modeled on the one and only private postdoctoral fellowship in the life sciences in Russia, formerly run by the Dynasty foundation and we at CDIBB Center are proud to be able to continue this tradition with the help of industrial partner.”

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The genetic ties between Skoltech and Bristol

Professor Konstantin Severinov, director of Skoltech Center for Data-Intensive Biomedicine and Biotechnology, has spent the late 1980’s in Bristol, UK, working on his Master’s thesis. Ever since, it’s his favorite place, filled with nostalgia. This summer, he had a chance to close a circle, when a young student came from Bristol to his lab, to work on her summer project. Читать далее

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Milk, honey and agricultural innovation

Three Skoltech biotech students – Anna Shmelkova, Julia Piskunova and Ksenia Tsvetkova – spent a couple of weeks in Tel-Aviv, Israel. They didn’t come for the beach or for the thriving nightlife. They came to participate in the food safety and security summer school, held in Tel-Aviv University’s Manna Center for Plant Biosciences. Читать далее

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