Researchers have evidence that synthetic compounds stop bacteria attaching themselves so effectively to host cells.
The prospect of surgery is far less frightening than the thought of hospital superbugs. Now researchers have evidence that synthetic compounds stop bacteria attaching themselves so effectively to host cells. The findings may help solve the problem of bacteria becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics.
An organism’s ability to cause disease is related to how well it can fasten to, say, bladder or kidney cells. The pathogen-host connection is by hair-like, protein fibres called pili that grow out from the bacterial wall, ready to latch onto a host.
Fredrik Almqvist and colleagues at Ume? University in Sweden and Washington University in St Louis, US, studied pilus formation, when protein subunits join together. They found that 2-pyridones inhibit growth by adding to growing pili instead of the usual proteins. This prevents the bacteria from attaching to host cells so effectively and possibly offers a means of reducing virulence.