Researchers at Utrecht University have gained new insights into the stucture and function of a protein complex that maintains the outer membrane of a bacteria. Shutting down this protein complex makes it impossible for the membrane to maintain itself, causing the bacteria to die. This protein could present a promising target for novel antibiotics. The researchers will publish their findings in Nature Communications on 8 October.
“Many of our current antibiotics kill bacteria by making a hole in the outer membrane”, says Marc Baldus, Professor of NMR Spectroscopy and lead author of the publication. “With this new knowledge, we now know that we can attack the membrane in another way: by preventing the bacteria from maintaining its membrane. It’s as if we’d found another way to sabotage a car: not by destroying the engine, but by deactivating the oil pump, which causes the car to overheat and break down on its own.”