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article imageAntivitamins hold promise in overcoming antimicrobial resistance

By Tim Sandle     Sep 2, 2020 in Science
Are antivitamins the solution to the antimicrobial resistance problem? Microbiologists have now identified a new approach that involves 'antivitamins', and these are said to hold promise with the development of a new generation of antimicrobials.
The world faces a shortage of antibiotics and other antimcrobials, no least in preventing secondary infections following surgery. This state of play is now very weak, given the rise in multi-drug resistant microorganisms. This arises foremost through bacteria acquiring resistant genes, meaning that certain antimicrobial compounds no longer have any effect against them.
READ MORE: Essential Science: Firing the arrow with new antibiotics
What are antivitamins?
A antivitamin is a general time applied to any substance that can prevent a vitamin from exerting its typical biologic effects. Many antivitamins have chemical structures similar to those of vitamins (for example, pyridoxine and its antivitamin, deoxypyridoxine).
New research
The new study hails from the University of Göttingen and the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry Gottingen. Here scientists have studied, using high-resolution protein crystallography, the mechanism of action of an antivitamin of vitamin B1. It has been observed that certain bacteria can produce a toxic form of this compound in order to kill competing bacteria.
The action of the antivitamin appears to be very potent, in that one extra atom in the antivitamin acts like a grain of sand in a complex gear system by blocking its finely tuned mechanics. The success so far with the investigation has paved the way for further research.
ALSO READ: WHO calls on big pharma to tackle antibiotic crisis
The research is published in the journal Nature Chemical Biology, where the study is headed: "Structural basis for antibiotic action of the B1 antivitamin 2′-methoxy-thiamine."
More about Antimicrobial, antivitamin, Antibiotics, Microbiology
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