By Joe Morgan via SWNS
The way penicillin kills bacteria has finally been discovered by scientists.
Since its discovery by Alexander Fleming over 80 years ago, and have saved over 200 million lives, the mechanism of how the antibiotic actually works was still unknown.
While it was understood that antibiotics work by preventing cell wall growth, researchers have now discovered exactly how they kill bacteria and plan to exploit this knowledge to create new drugs to combat antibiotic-resistant superbugs.
Both the NHS and health organizations across the world are trying to reduce the use of antibiotics, especially for health problems that are not serious.
An international team, led by University of Sheffield scientists, discovered penicillin creates holes in the cell wall which enlarge as the cell grows, eventually killing the bacteria.
The growth of these holes leads to failure of the cell wall and death of the bacteria, something which the scientists now plan to exploit in order to create new therapeutics for antibiotic-resistant superbugs.
Professor Simon Foster, from the University of Sheffield’s School of Biosciences, said: “Penicillin and other antibiotics in its class have been a centerpiece of human healthcare for over 80 years and have saved over 200 million lives.
"However, their use is severely threatened by the global spread of antimicrobial resistance.
“Concentrating on the superbug MRSA, our research revealed that the antibiotics lead to the formation of small holes that span the cell wall that gradually enlarge as part of growth-associated processes, eventually killing the bacteria.
"We also identified some of the enzymes that are involved in making the holes.
“Our findings get to the heart of understanding how existing antibiotics work and give us new avenues for further treatment developments in the face of the global pandemic of antimicrobial resistance.”
Using this knowledge and an understanding of how the enzymes are controlled, the scientists also showed the efficacy of a novel combination therapy against S. aureus.
The team worked with a simple model for how the bacterial cell wall expands during growth and division and established a hypothesis for what happens when this is inhibited by antibiotics like penicillin.
The predictions of the model were tested using a combination of molecular approaches, including high-resolution atomic force microscopy.
Stories and infographics by ‘Talker Research’ are available to download & ready to use. Stories and videos by ‘Talker News’ are managed by SWNS. To license content for editorial or commercial use and to see the full scope of SWNS content, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or submit an inquiry via our contact form.
Ducks spotted swimming in flooded backyards in Florida
"Waters continue to rise. Streets are impassible all around me."
Should calorie labels include the amount of exercise required to burn off food?
A packet might read: “calories in this cake requires 90 minutes of walking to burn off.”
Scientists think life may be lurking in this place on Mars
Is there life on Mars?
This robot named Cassie broke a 100-meter sprint record
“This 100-meter result was achieved by a deep collaboration between mechanical hardware design and advanced artificial intelligence for the control...
Watch firefighter rescue Florida woman trapped in submerged car after Hurricane Ian
Many places in Florida saw severe flooding, sweeping away cars and structures and washing out roads.
- Fashion & Beauty4 days ago
Influencer shares trick to curling hair without curling iron
- Home3 days ago
She lives in such a remote place it takes 10 hours to get groceries
- Outer Space4 days ago
Astronaut takes enchanting picture of ‘space angel’
- Tech2 days ago
‘World first’ hybrid seaglider vehicle completes test flights
- Food & Drink4 days ago
Where is the ‘hangriest’ place in the United States?
- Outer Space3 days ago
Otherworldly images captured at SpaceX launch
- History3 days ago
Research reveals humans used ‘high-tech’ glue 100,000 years ago
- Pets6 days ago
Nearly 80% say the best part of their day is coming home to their pet