Posted November 02, 2018 06:38:00 A new type of toxin, created by bacteria, is creating new pathways that can be used to create new compounds.
Key points:A new strain of antibiotic-resistant bacteria has evolved to make a toxin called an anthranilic acidThat toxin, known as anthranilamide, can cause lung, skin, heart and other diseasesThe study is part of a major global effort to find ways to fight drug-resistant infectionsThe discovery is based on a bacterial strain that has evolved a new way of making a toxin that can produce anthranils, a chemical used as a disinfectant and an antiseptic.
“It’s not going to kill the bacteria that we’ve got,” said lead author Andrew Tann, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Melbourne’s School of Life Sciences.
“But it could stop them from doing the things that are needed for life on Earth.”
Professor Tann said the new strain could be used in the treatment of other diseases such as cancer and malaria.
“The bacteria can be isolated, isolated from the body and then cultured and grown to create the toxin, but you need to be able to find and use it,” he said.
“So you need a specific organism to do it, but we’ve developed an approach to make the toxin that works.”
The strain was isolated from a common bacteria known as Lactobacillus pylori.
“Lactobacs are known to produce many toxins,” Professor Tann explained.
“For example, they produce hydrogen peroxide which is used to kill viruses.
And they also produce a toxic compound called the carbonyl, which is produced by a group of bacteria called Sulfoxanans.”
The new strain, named Anthrax, was created by using a modified version of a bacterium called Lactophilus.
“This is the first time that we have found a different type of bacteria that produces an anthrax toxin,” Professor Brian Jelinek, who led the study, said.
The researchers found that Anthrax was produced by bacteria that normally produce the carbonic acid that makes up the antibiotic-resistance gene, but the strain was able to make anthranolides instead.
“They’re making these new toxins in the presence of a normal bacterium, which means they can do it in a much smaller volume, which could be a lot better than just having a bacterial culture,” Professor Jelinelk said.
Professor Jelinellk said that although the strain is not harmful, the scientists did not want to create any new antibiotics that could be spread around the world.
“We don’t want people to be making new antibiotics, we want to have them available for use around the globe,” he told AM.
“There are lots of antibiotics that are available to the general population and are used worldwide, but for some reason we don’t see them being widely used.”
The discovery also revealed a way to make new toxins that were not produced by the usual bacteria.
“These are not bacteria we’ve used before,” Professor Dermot Bissette, the lead researcher on the study said.”[They are] very novel and we are only just beginning to understand how they work.”
The researchers have identified two other types of anthranoids, anthranic acid and anthranyl, but Professor Tanne said they were not the same.
“I think we will be able come up with a more complete set of species and then we will have a better understanding of how they are all different,” he explained.
The study was published in the journal Molecular Ecology.