Friday, November 29, 2013

Dr. Courtney Aldrich : Design of Antibiotics that Target Biotin Metabolism

Dr. Courtney Aldrich seminar was on antibiotic design, specifically about those that target Biotin metabolism which is utilized by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the organisms responsible for the disease, tuberculosis. According to Dr. Aldrich, new antibiotics will be developed through the use of the unbiased phenotypic whole-cell screening technique in which compounds with antibiotic activity are obtained and of those, the ones that are multi-target inhibitors are identified.

According to Wanisa Salaemae, Al Azhar, Grant W. Booker, Steven W. Polyak, School of Molecular and Biomedical Sciences, University of Adelaide, South Australia 5005, Australia, Biotin is an important micronutrient that serves as an essential enzyme cofactor. Bacteria obtain biotin either through de novo synthesis or by active uptake from exogenous sources. Mycobacteria are unusual amongst bacteria in that their primary source of biotin is through de novo synthesis.

Tuberculosis has been classified as a “modern emerging infectious disease” because though we are very familiar with the standard and older forms of the disease, we are much less familiar with the newer, drug resistant and fungal forms of the disease. Dr. Aldrich was able to describe the ways antibiotics are designed and created. These are in two ways; biased based target  where researchers focus on specific enzymes' pathway or phenotype whole cell screening which would be the method which the majority of future antibiotics would be discovered... 

The complex life cycle of mycobacterium tuberculosis, the pathogenic bacilli responsible for TB, also contributes to the bacteria’s extraordinary ability to evade antibiotic therapy (Russell et al., 2010). Most antibiotics are effective against actively growing Mycobacterium as they target metabolic processes required for the primary progressive stage of infection (Baek et al., 2011; Koulet al., 2011).

Dr. Aldrich concluded that the new biotin-targeted drugs development can be effective as a product of biased-target based rationale and that it is very important to recognize the drug’s use in vivo in the body-for the drugs he has been working to synthesize as well as all other drugs.

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