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Possible New Potent Drug for Tuberculosis Treatment Found in Soil Bacteria Compound

Update Date: Mar 03, 2017 08:40 AM EST

A synthetic version of the compound Sansanmycin, found in soil bacteria has been discovered to can kill tuberculosis bacterium in laboratory conditions. The synthesized compound targets the enzyme Mtb phosphor-MurNAc-pentapeptide translocase, or MraY, destroying the TB bacteria in the process.

The findings were from experiments performed at the University of Sydney in Australia in collaboration with researchers from the UK, the United States, and Canada.

Summary of the experiments posted at Medical News Today revealed that the team of researchers managed to produce a more potent structural variation, or analogs, of the natural compound found in the soil bacteria. Laboratory tests showed that through synthetic chemistry, the Sansanmycin natural product analogs were indeed effective in destroying Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium that causes TB.

The compound destroys the tuberculosis bacteria by targeting the enzyme Mtb phospho-MurNAc-pentapeptide translocase, or MraY present in Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which plays a significant role in the cell wall of the TB bacterium. This synthesized soil bacteria compound attacks the TB bacteria inside macrophages - the host immune cells that TB bacteria inhabit when they infect human lungs.

Professor Richard Payne, one of the lead investigators from Sydney's School of Chemistry also reveals that this recent discovery offers a new ground in creating a new TB drug. Further test will be conducted to be able to test the safety of its use. Future experiments will also try to explore the underlying mechanism through which the new compounds select their targets, Science Daily reveals.

At present, medications used to treat tuberculosis do not target the wall-building protein of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria. Experts reveal that with the destruction of the cell wall, the bacterium will eventually die, thus showing a promising future for a possible drug that can be extracted or created from Sansanmycin found in soil bacteria.

According to the World Health Organization, tuberculosis is one of the top 10 cause of death around the globe. In 2015 alone, 10.4 million people were infected with the disease and 1.8 million died from it. Over 95 percent of tuberculosis-related deaths are also observed from low- and middle-income countries.

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