Science 2 min read

Researchers Discover a Method to Block new Antibiotic-Resistant Gene

Canadian researchers have discovered a way to block an antibiotic-resistant gene that could also help in stopping the rise of antibiotic-resistant superbugs.

This new discovery could give researchers excellent insight into how antibiotic-resistant genes can be treated. ¦ 
 Pixabay.com

This new discovery could give researchers excellent insight into how antibiotic-resistant genes can be treated. ¦ Pixabay.com

A team of Canadian researchers recently discovered how to block a newly found antibiotic-resistant gene. The gene, called VCC-1, was first spotted in Canada by investigators from the country’s Public Health Agency.

These genes were reportedly found on frozen shrimps imported to the country from India to be sold in a Canadian grocery store. VCC-1 is a ß-lactamase gene, a class of enzyme responsible for breaking down the critically important antimicrobial class called ß-lactams.

“We noticed that VCC-1 belongs to the same class of [antibiotic resistance] enzymes that avibactam is active against,” Dr. Brian Mark, a professor at University of Manitoba’s Department of Microbiology and lead author of the study, said.

Blocking an Antibiotic-Resistant Gene

To prove if VCC-1 could be blocked by avibactam, Dr. Mark and his team applied the drug on the gene and observed it using x-ray crystallography. This is a method of visualizing the structures of molecules at the atomic scale in 3D.

The x-ray crystallography revealed that the molecules of avibactam have bumps that fit perfectly into the pockets of VCC-1 genes responsible for breaking down the antibiotic.

Dr. Mark and his colleagues then grew the original strain of the VCC-1 Vibrio discovered by PHA and tried to kill the bacteria using the ß-lactam antimicrobial carbapenem.

The experiment showed how resistant the bacteria was to the drug. However, by adding avibactam to the carbapenem, the drug became highly potent because avibactam blocked the VCC-1.

In 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Authority approved a drug application of avibactam in combination with ceftazidime (branded as Avycaz) for the treatment of complicated infections. Antibiotic-resistant pathogens cause these infections.

Dr. Mark and his team’s study was published in the journal American Society for Microbiology.

Read More: New Chemical Synthesis To Help Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Infections

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Rechelle Ann Fuertes

Rechelle is the current Managing Editor of Edgy. She's an experienced SEO content writer, researcher, social media manager, and visual artist. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with her family and friends.

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