Let the bacteria starve

While drugs are available to treat tuberculosis, like so many other bacterial infections the disease is becoming more and more resistant to the best medications currently on offer. Scientists at Canada’s University of Guelph have uncovered a promising new pathway in the development of novel drugs, describing what they call a newly-discovered “keyhole” that can be targeted to starve tuberculosis-causing bacteria of the sustenance they need to survive.

The University of Guelph team used the Canadian Light Source synchrotron to image these bacteria, which enabled them to identify the structure of an enzyme called acyl CoA dehydrogenase that is key to this steroid breakdown. This led them to create a picture of a “keyhole” that drugs would need to fit into to inactivate the enzyme, which they say provides a new target for the development of treatments for tuberculosis. The scientists see starving the disease-causing bacteria as a particularly promising technique, and one that could even apply to treatment of other conditions such as inflammation and cancer.

Read the full story: Newly found "keyhole" could starve the bacteria behind tuberculosis