Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Mar 01, 2013
Scientists are reporting "laboratory resurrections" of several 2-3-billion-year-old proteins that are ancient ancestors of the enzymes that enable today's antibiotic-resistant bacteria to shrug off huge doses of penicillins, cephalosporins and other modern drugs. The achievement, reported in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, opens the door to a scientific "replay" of the evolution of antibiotic resistance with an eye to finding new ways to cope with the problem.
Jose M. Sanchez-Ruiz, Eric A. Gaucher, Valeria A. Risso and colleagues explain that antibiotic resistance existed long before Alexander Fleming discovered the first antibiotic in 1928. Genes that contain instructions for making the proteins responsible for antibiotic resistance have been found in 30,000-year-old permafrost sediment and other ancient sites.
Their research focused on the so-called beta-lactamases, enzymes responsible for resistance to the family of antibiotics that includes penicillin, which scientists believe originated billions of years ago.
They describe using laboratory and statistical techniques to reconstruct the sequences of beta-lactamase proteins dating to Precambrian times, 2-3 billion years ago. The team also synthesized the inferred ancestral enzymes and conducted studies on their stability, structure and function.
"The availability of laboratory resurrections of Precambrian beta-lactamases opens up new possibilities in the study of the emergence of antibiotic resistance," the report states.
"For instance, it should now be possible to perform laboratory replays of the molecular tape of lactamase evolution and use such replays to probe the molecular determinants of the efficiency of lactamases to adapt to different types of antibiotics."
The authors also note that the extreme stability and catalytic features displayed by the 2-3-billion-year-old lactamases suggest that resurrected Precambrian proteins have utility for the biotechnology industry.
American Chemical Society
Explore The Early Earth at TerraDaily.com
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|