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Infectious disease

Gram-positive bacterial infection

GTP pyrophosphokinase (relA)

In vitro studies identified an inhibitor of relA that could help treat Gram-positive bacterial infections. relA synthesizes
(p)ppGpp, which is required for a bacterial starvation survival mechanism called the stringent response. In enzymatic assays, a 2ʹ-deoxyguanosine-based analog of (p)ppGpp, dubbed Relacin, inhibited relA and prevented synthesis of (p)ppGpp from Escherichia coli and Deinococcus radiodurans. In spore-forming Bacillus subtilis cells, the analog also decreased (p)ppGpp production, cell viability and sporulation compared with no treatment. Next steps include determining the effects of Relacin on eukaryotic cells and examining antibiotic activity in animal models.

SciBX 5(40); doi:10.1038/scibx.2012.1054
Published online Oct. 11, 2012

Patent application filed; unlicensed

Wexselblatt, E. et al. PLoS Pathog.; published online Sept. 20, 2012;
Contact: Sigal Ben-Yehuda,
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel