A New Peptide Antibiotic Could Treat Tuberculosis More Effectively

Release Date: 25-Sep-2019

Tuberculosis is one of the fetal diseases, which is complex to treat. The bacteria responsible for this disease are Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It is able to hide from antibiotics inside the immune cells that are supposed to kill them. This is the major reason which makes the treatment long and difficult. In the November issue of ACS Infectious Diseases, UConn chemists report a new antibiotic, which is able to find the bacteria and kill them.


Mycobacterium tuberculosis has a unique lifestyle. They allow themselves to be eaten by macrophage immune cells and then grow inside of them.  People infected with tuberculosis must typically take a combination of antibiotics for a period of many months, because the bacteria are only susceptible to the drugs when they break out of the macrophage in which they were born and search out a new one to invade.


Alfredo Angeles-Boza, whichis an Uconn chemist, and his then-graduate student, Daben Libardo, and colleagues decided to design an antibiotic, whicgh is able to move into the macrophages and kill the bacteria. They work on fish, sea squirts and other sea creatures to develop peptide antibiotics. After that, they incorporated copper atoms which are able to shift the electron and destroy the bacteria by oxidative damage.


The macrophages of the patients is than attacks the mycobacteria as they are also infected by the action of copper and hence become activated to destroy the bacteria. They trap the bacteria in a bubble and then inject copper +1 ions,this plain copper atoms has a plus one charge (Cu+) and enters into the. But the Mycobacteria remains prevented from that attack.


The main aim is to keep the peptide near the bacteria. If the antibiotic peptides can get close to the bacteria, they can grab onto one of the copper ions and activates it. This method can be used to take the peptide close to the bacteria. To do that, the chemists put the peptides into little bubbles similar to the kind of cells used to move around packets of protein ingridients. When the bacteria attract the bubble, the peptide antibodies show its action and kill the bacteria.


The developed peptide antibiotic shows a high activity against the macrophages in the lab and kills the mycobacterium. But in the animal models, it is unable to treat tuberculosis yet in mice. The major problem with peptide drug is that they are not stable and degrade easily. The half-life of peptide drug is also small.

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