Slovenian researchers pave the way for more potent treatment of superbugs

From: Potent DNA gyrase inhibitors bind asymmetrically to their target using symmetrical bifurcated halogen bonds

Ljubljana – An international team of researchers headed by Marko Anderluh of the Ljubljana Faculty of Pharmacy and Nikola Minovski of the Chemistry Institute has synthesized molecules that could result in new treatments for super resistant bacteria.

The expert group demonstrated the mechanism of action of these new molecules for the first time, the Faculty of Pharmacy said.

This breakthrough will help develop new, more effective medicines to tackle one of the key global problems of the 21st century – anti-microbial resistance, which is one of the ten most dire threats to public health, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The occurrence and spread of pathogens resistant to medicines jeopardise effective treatment of common infections.

“The main achievement of the researchers is the development of bacterial type II topoisomerase inhibitors (NBTI) with the innovative segment of the molecule. The produced molecules, which have been patented, have an extraordinary potent antibacterial effect since they are even more efficient in inhibiting the proliferation of bacterial cells.”

The new molecules could boost the treatment of bacterial infections by affecting resistant bacterial strains that hardly respond to the existent antimicrobials.

The breakthrough has also proved the existence of special halogen bonds in biological macromolecules, which has not yet been identified in a biological system.

Four Slovenian scientists and six from the UK worked on the study, which took four years. Its findings were presented in a peer-reviewed paper in Nature Communications on 8 January (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-20405-8).