ARTICLE | Tools & Techniques

Clast warfare

March 20, 2006 8:00 AM UTC

Compounds derived from bacteria are most often associated with antibiotics. But in a study published this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers identified a small molecule derived from Streptomyces bacteria, called reveromycin A (RM-A), that has potential to treat osteoporosis.

The morphology of an osteoclast allows it to establish an isolated acidic microenvironment between itself and the surface of bone, which facilitates the bone resorption associated with diseases like osteoporosis. Reveromycin A selectively exploits the localized acidity to cause apoptosis of the osteoclasts, ultimately preventing bone resorption in mice...