Bacterial protein recycling factor possible key to new class of antibiotics

Kaji. However, commonly used antibiotics such as erythromycin and tetracycline kill bacteria but are virtually harmless to humans, showing little side effect despite their influence on mitochondrial protein synthesis. "With rational drug design it is even possible to design anti-RRF which would only influence bacterial RRF," says Kaji.

His lab is currently identifying the ribosomal site to which RRF is moved from the currently identified position. "It is from this position where RRF performs the final and the most important act release of mRNA," says Kaji. "The fourth step of protein synthesis within human cells is shrouded in complete mystery and nothing is known. This fundamental step must be elucidated before we can take advantage of the fact that the same step is catalyzed by RRF in bacteria."

Other scientists contributing to this work are: Rajendra K. Agrawal, Manjuli R. Sharma, and Timothy M. Booth from the New York State Department of Health; Michael C. Kiel and Go Hirokawa from Penn; and Christian M.T. Spahn, Robert A. Grassucci, and Joachim Frank from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Agrawal and Frank are also affiliated with the State University of New York, Albany. This research was funded in part by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

This release and accompanying image can be found at: http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news.


Contact: Karen Kreeger
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

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