Saturday, December 17, 2005
Riboswitches may help fight bacterial infection
NEW HAVEN, Conn., Dec 16, 2005 (UPI via COMTEX) -- The recently emerged field of bacterial riboswitches may help in fighting bacterial infection, Connecticut researchers said.
Riboswitches are RNA elements that control gene expression in essential metabolic pathways.
The riboswitch controlling vitamin B1 -- thiamine -- levels is disrupted in the presence of pyrithiamine, a toxic compound related to the vitamin, said Ronald R. Breaker, the Henry Ford II professor of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at Yale University.
Bacteria and fungi fail to grow in pyrithiamine and become resistant by acquiring mutations in their riboswitches. This work, in combination with the recently solved crystal structures of purine riboswitches, opens a path to the directed design of drugs targeting riboswitches for use as antibiotics.
The findings are published in the journal