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Drug development

Streptomycin cell membrane finding could aid antibiotic development

New study confirms streptomycin binds to receptor, which could be new target for antibiotics.

Dihydrostreptomycin (green) going through the MscL channel pore in 3 panels

Courtesy of Junmei Wang

Dihydrostreptomycin, pictured in green, was found to bind to the MscL receptor (purple and red) allowing it to enter the bacterial cell

Streptomycin is one of the oldest antibiotics, but it is still not known how this relatively large drug enters bacterial cells. 

A team of researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, previously found that increased expression of a channel found in bacterial cell membranes, known as MscL, can enhance the potency of dihydrostreptomycin. 

In a new study, published in PLoS Biology (online, 9 June 2016)[1], members of the same team used a combination of genetic, molecular-dynamic and computational approaches to explore whether dihydrostreptomycin binds to MscL. They showed that the antibiotic does bind to the receptor, resulting in a conformational change that allows it to enter the cell. 

The researchers suggest their findings could be used in the development of new antibiotics targeting the same channel.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/CP.2016.20201319

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Supplementary images

  • Dihydrostreptomycin (green) going through the MscL channel pore in 3 panels

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