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ASM: Investigators Figure Out How to Block New Antibiotic Resistance Gene

Using x-ray crystallography Mark Lab has found a way to block enzyme in resistant gene

February 23, 2019 — 

As the The American Society for Microbiology reports:

A new antimicrobial-resistance gene, VCC-1, a ß-lactamase gene, has been discovered in benign close relatives of virulent Vibrio cholerae, which causes cholera. Now, a team of Canadian researchers has found a way to block the VCC-1 enzyme, which disables that resistance gene. The research is published February 19th in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology. 
 
VCC-1 was first found in Canada, by investigators from the Public Health Agency of Canada, on frozen shrimp that had been imported from India, and sold in a Canadian grocery store. A handful of other ß-lactamase resistance genes have also emerged from India. ß-lactamase genes code for enzymes that can break down ß-lactams, which are a critically important class of antimicrobials. 
 
The investigators identified the gene in a non-toxogenic strain of Vibrio cholerae. Since then, VCC-1 has also been found in non-toxogenic V. cholerae off of the German coastline. The danger is that it’s a short jump for a gene from non-toxogenic V. cholerae to its toxogenic siblings. 
 
“We noticed that VCC-1 belongs to the same class of [antibiotic resistance] enzymes that avibactam is active against,” said lead author Brian Mark, PhD, Professor, Department of Microbiology, University of Manitoba. The US Food and Drug Administration had recently approved Avibactam. “I said, ‘lets try avibactam’,” and sure enough, it blocks the enzyme quite potently,” said Dr. Mark. 

 

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