Novel Bacteria Fighter Unearthed

by Bethany Halford,  Chemical & Engineering News

An antibacterial compound with a novel structure and mechanism of action has been identified, isolated, and tested in mice. If the compound, known as teixobactin, makes it through clinical trials, it will represent the first new class of antibiotic to be discovered in a decade.

“Most of the antibiotics we have in our drugstores and clinics have been isolated from soil microorganisms,” explains Kim Lewis, a biology professor at Boston’s Northeastern University who led the research effort. “But only about 1% of environmental microorganisms will grow on petri dishes in the lab. The rest are unculturable.” Using a novel screening method that coaxes such unculturable bacteria to grow, Lewis and his colleagues were able to unearth teixobactin (Nature 2015, DOI: 10.1038/nature14098)  Read the entire story.

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