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Archive - Aug 27, 2009

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Bacterial Enzyme May Be New Antibiotic Target

Researchers have shown that inhibition of a key bacterial enzyme may be an effective approach for killing or suppressing the growth of a broad range of bacterial pathogens. The enzyme is nicotinate mononucleotide adenylyltransferase (NadD), an essential enzyme for nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) biosynthesis. NAD has many crucial functions in nearly all important pathogens and the bacterial NadD differs significantly from the human enzyme. “It’s clear that because of bacterial resistance, we need new, wide-spectrum antibiotics,” said Dr. Andrei Osterman, senior author of the report. “This enzyme is indispensable in many pathogens, so finding ways to inhibit it could give us new options against infection.” In their work, the researchers identified small molecule compounds that efficiently inhibited target NadD enzymes from Escherichia coli (ecNadD) and Bacillus anthracis (baNadD), but had no effect on functionally equivalent human enzymes. The results of this study help validate NadD as a target for the development of antibacterial agents with potential broad-spectrum activity, the scientists said. This research was reported in the August 28 issue of Chemistry & Biology. [Press release] [C&B abstract]