Researchers on a mission to tackle gonorrhea’s resistance to antibiotics

Almost a decade ago, after a bacterium which is responsible for gonorrhea, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, was found to be resistant to one the last remaining types of antibiotics, dual therapy begun to be recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which meant that doctors were to prescribe two drugs simultaneously in order to fight gonorrhea. At present, the two drugs are azithromycin and ceftriaxone.

The researchers are concerned that gonorrhea might beat the last defenses as well, hence the work of researchers such as crystallographer Christopher Davies is crucial at this time.

Doctor Davies, who is a director of the MUSC Center for Structural Biology and professor at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, told that they are researching on events which have got everyone concerned out there in the clinics.

The team of Doctor Davies has recently published a paper to show the ways by which cephalosporins bind and deactivate penicillin-binding protein 2 which is a gonococcal protein dubbed. Avinash Singh, a fellow postdoctoral of Davies is leading the research. It has been shown by the researchers how the protein undergoes primary changes in its structure, inclusive of twisting and rolling of a loop for binding the antibiotic, which further enhances the reaction with cephalosporins. In the absence of these changes, the protein would not react at a fast pace with the antibiotic.

All the antibiotics function by hitting the key functions in any certain bug. Cephalosporins work by making an attack at the cell wall of bacteria, Davies explained.

Typically, penicillin-binding protein 2 moves along the cytoplasmic membrane of the cell of bacteria, reaching out into the space between the outer membrane and the cytoplasmic membrane, searching for peptides to attach with.  However, before the protein can get to any peptide, the antibiotics quickly bind with the protein.