Atomic-scale view of bacterial proteins offers path to new tuberculosis drugs

In studying a cousin of the bacterium that causes tuberculosis, scientists have drawn a molecular map of the target for rifampicin, a common antibiotic. They are now using it in an effort to combat multi-resistant tuberculosis, for which existing treatments don't work.
The research, conducted by a Rockefeller team led by Elizabeth Campbell, in collaboration with scientists at Memorial Sloan Kettering, focuses on a cluster of interacting proteins called RNA polymerase. Crucial to all cells, this protein machine carries out a fundamental process in which genes within the DNA blueprint are copied into RNA. The RNA polymerase is the target of the antibiotic rifampicin -- a lynchpin of modern TB treatment, which relies on a combination of drugs. Some bacteria become resistant to rifampicin by acquiring RNA polymerase mutations.
Now that we can visualize the molecular machinery of the bacteria that the drug targets, we can use a structure-guided approach to better understand how the drug works, how bacteria become resistant to it, and how to potentially improve the drug's action.
Source :      2017/3/13 11:56

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