That's cool. I don't quite understand why this mechanism effects bacteria and not normal body cells. Understanding that is the next step before you can develop some new antibiotics. Which I hope happens soon.
Friday, April 20, 2012
How (some) antibiotics work
This research comes at a useful time: we're running out of usable antibiotics. They find that quinolones, beta-lactams and aminoglycosides (OK, I'm as wise as I was before, but those are classes of antibiotics) kill bacteria using hydroxyls to partly oxidize guanine. These defective guanines are taken up into bacterial DNA as though they were normal guanine (or as though it were thymine!)--but then they trigger the defect alarm, and the DNA-repair mechanism tries to split the DNA to splice it out. If there are too many of these, the DNA-repair kit winds up cutting the DNA in two places simultaneously, which it can't recover from.