Indian scientists discover way to develop new antibiotics

The scientists at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) have identified a potential area where new antibiotics can be developed. The identification of 'potential drug target' by CCMB scientist Manjula Reddy and her team assumes importance as the drug-resistance in bacteria is increasing worldwide and development of new antibiotics is declining over the years.

If we have to increase the size of a room, we have to break the walls and put new bricks. Likewise, bacteria is covered with a cell wall. The cell wall is made with something called peptidoglycan. If the cell has to increase in size, it has to break what is there earlier and put new pieces. If it cannot break, cell wall cannot grow, said CCMB Director Ch Mohan Rao, speaking to reporters. Read - antibiotic resistance, why it is dangerous?

She (Manjula Reddy) discovered that there are certain enzymes which break this... If we can target this enzyme and prevent that enzyme from functioning, then cell wall will not be broken. If it will not be broken, it cannot expand. If it cannot expand, it cannot survive, he said. The study was published in 'Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA', a prestigious journal, he said.

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CCMB scientists have also made a critical discovery in meiosis, Rao said. Meiosis is a special form of cell division that splits genome in two, so that chromosome number is maintained in the embryo after fertilisation. Errors in meiosis result in infertility and birth defects and account for a majority of congenital birth defects.

In plants, meiosis can be bypassed to produce clonal seeds by apomixes (an asexual mode of seed formation), which would be of immense agricultural and economical importance if engineered in crops, Rao said.

Using the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, the CCMB scientists identified a gene called DUET as the first known regulator of meiotic gene expression in plants, he said.

Source: PTI

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