Targets found for antibiotic development

Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have new information on the structure of a key enzyme in bacteria that could lead to improved antibiotics and less antibiotic resistance. In findings published online in two complementary papers in Nature, the research team describes the differences in an enzyme called RNA polymerase in bacterial cells as opposed to human cells. These differences provide potential new targets for drug design.

"Knowing how RNA polymerase differs in human and bacterial cells means antibiotics can be designed with a greater probability that they will interact with and kill bacteria, while leaving healthy human cells alone," says Dmitry Vassylyev, Ph.D., professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics and lead author of both papers.

- check out the release on antibiotics