Anti-Countering Strategy: The Lugdun antibiotic attacks on several levels
The team at the University of Tübingen explains why antimicrobial agents from nature are superior to those produced by chemical
The natural antibiotic Lugdunin, who discovered researchers from Tybingen three years ago, also attacks the pathogenic bacteria in several different ways. It is also interacting with the defense mechanisms of the human body. These new findings were won by a research team led by Professor Birgit Schittek of the University Clinic for Tübingen Clinical Clinic and prof. This study was published in the journal Nature Communications. Scientists suspect that due to the versatile ability to attack the lugdunin remained effective for a long time to date and could not develop resistance to antibiotics.
The development of antibiotics is one of the great success stories in medicine, saving millions of lives each year and significantly contributing to a huge increase in life expectancy. However, many experts fear that we will soon be in the wild without antibiotics because more and more medicines available will lose their effect on drug resistance. However, antibiotics are not an invention of the pharmaceutical industry. "Instead, many bacteria naturally produce such substances, probably through long evolutionary periods, without loss of efficiency," says Birgit Schittek. Antibiotic lugdunin produces benign bacteria on the human mucosa of the nose to prevent infectious Staphylococcus aureus agents. "Why Lugdunin is still very effective today, it has been completely puzzling so far," says the researcher.
Only recently chemists from the University of Tübingen reported in the Angewandte Chemie magazine that lugdunin can disrupt the energy balance of pathogenic bacteria and kill them. In the work so far, scientists have found that Lugdunin has not only had a direct antimicrobial effect on S. aureus, but has two other, completely unexpected properties: "On the one hand, it works together with the antimicrobial peptides that make up our human cells," says Andreas . Peschel. This increases efficiency and complicates the formation of resistance. "Secondly, it binds to a human receptor called TLR2," he says. "It stimulates immune cells and activates the immune response so that S. aureus has no chance of being inhabited and causing an infection."
Independent level of attack clearly explained why a natural antibiotic, such as lugdunin, superior to chemically produced substance that has only one target in the bacterial cell in terms of resistance prevention, Schittek and Peschel sum up their findings.
They can help researchers to develop new therapeutic agents that work in a similar way and hardly cause resistance. Findings were also obtained through co-operation in Collaborative Research Center Transregio "Skin as a Sensor and Local and Systemic Immune Activator" (SFB / TRR 156). As part of the Tübingen cluster of excellence "Control of Infection Control Microorganisms", which has been in place since the beginning of 2019, they are used to clarify more precisely the natural defense mechanisms of microbes, ie the totality of microorganisms that colonize humans. In Germany's DZIF, the university-patented Lugdunin will be further developed so that it can be used in therapy in the future.
Prof. Birgit Schittek
University Department of Dermatology Tübingen
Phone + 49 7071 29-80832
Prof. Andreas Peschel
University of Tübingen – Interfaculty Institute for Microbiology and Infection Medicine
German Infection Research Center (DZIF)
Phone +49 7071 29-75935
Katharina Bitschar, Jule Focken, Hanna Dehmer, Sonja Moos, Martin Konnerth, Nadine Schilling, Stephanie Grond, Hubert Kalbacher, Florian C. Kurschus, Friedrich Götz, Bernhard Krismer, Andreas Peschel and Birgit Schittek. Lugdunin boosts innate immune responses in the skin in synergy with the factors derived from hosts and microbiotas. Nature Communications, https://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-10646-7
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