Scripps researchers test artificial peptide nanotubes as antibiotics

from the self-assembling-bug-busters dept.
A research team at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) led by M. Reza Ghadiri have developed antibiotic agents based on self-assembling cyclic peptide nanotubes that which stack inside the cell membranes of bacteria and poke holes in the membranes, killing the cells. They reported on their research in the 26 July 2001 issue of Nature. The team synthesized rings of amino acids, the building blocks of peptides, which stack up to form tubes in bacterial cell walls. These self-assembling peptide nanotubes cleared infections of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in mice, even when injected far from the site of infection. Early work in this research project won Ghadiri Foresightís 1998 Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology for Experimental Work.

Read more for links to additional media coverage of this research. Additional coverage can be found at:
– The Nature Science Update website ("Bacterial back-stabbing: Antibiotic prototype punctures bugs", by T. Clarke, 26 July 2001)
– An article from United Press International ("Lab-made protein fights resistant bacteria", by L. Wasowicz, 25 July 2001)
More information about the cyclic peptide nanotubes can be found on the TSRI website.

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