Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and Ohio State University have taken a major step in the battle against drug-resistant bacteria. New findings published in the journal Cell show for the first time a mechanism of how rifamycins, a family of antibiotics used to treat tuberculosis, bind to bacteria and kill them.
Using X-ray crystallography, the researchers found that the drugs facilitated release of a catalytic magnesium ion thereby inhibiting RNA polymerase, a cell component that is essential for gene expression.
"This research gives us a better understanding of how these drugs bind to their target bacteria," said Dmitry Vassylyev, PhD, professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics. "In turn, this points the way to how we can modify the next generation of rifamycins to overcome antibiotic resistance."
Source: University of Alabama at Birmingham