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Infectious disease

Bacterial infection

Guanosine 5ʹ-diphosphate 3ʹ-diphosphate (ppGpp); guanosine 5ʹ-triphosphate 3ʹ-diphosphate (pppGpp)

In vitro studies suggest inhibiting ppGpp and pppGpp could help treat bacterial infections by eliminating biofilms. In vitro, an innate defense peptide from bacteria including Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli bound to and induced degradation of (p)ppGpp, which are involved in the bacterial stress response and biofilm formation. In culture, the peptide led to dispersal or death of multiple types of bacteria in established biofilms, whereas overproduction of (p)ppGpp increased biofilm formation and conveyed resistance to the peptide. Next steps include identifying the optimal dose and developing antibodies for use in combination with the peptide.

SciBX 7(25); doi:10.1038/scibx.2014.738
Published online June 26, 2014

Patent application filed; available for licensing

de la Fuente-Núñez, C. et al. PLoS Pathog.; published online May 22, 2014;
Contact: Robert E.W. Hancock, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada