An antibiotic molecule that can be used to design new, more potent antibacterial drugs has been identified by scientists from John Innes Centre.
They said antibiotic molecule, simocyclinone D8 (SD8), slots into pockets in the surface of a bacterial enzyme, DNA gyrase, and inhibits its activity.
Gyrase is essential for bacteria to survive and grow. However, it is not present in humans so is an ideal, and already established, target for antibiotics.
"A completely new way to beat bacteria is an exciting find at a time when resistance to existing antibiotics is growing," said Professor Tony Maxwell from the John Innes Centre, lead author on the research to be published in Science. JIC is an institute of the BBSRC.
"If you can knock out this enzyme, you have a potential new drug," he added.
The molecule has two heads that dock into separate pockets in DNA gyrase, and together they are 100 times more powerful than when working individually.
"The fact that there are two pockets means that it might require simultaneous mutations in both pockets for the bacteria to acquire full resistance to the drug, which is much less likely," said Maxwell.
"You could say that this is a case of two heads being better than one," he added.
The study is published in journal Science.