Scientists at the Wistar Institute in the United States have discovered a class of compounds that combine the properties of antibiotics with their direct action on bacteria and immunomodulators that promote a rapid immune response against drug-resistant microbes. A new way to avoid deadly infections is reported in an article published in the journal Nature.
The researchers looked for substances that target a specific metabolic pathway in bacteria called methyl-D-erythritol phosphate or non-mevalonate. It is responsible for the synthesis of isoprenoids – molecules essential for the survival of pathogenic bacteria. The key component of this pathway is the IspH enzyme, which is present in many pathogenic microorganisms.
Experts used computer simulations to find the most effective IspH inhibitors that could penetrate the bacterial wall, which is not available for many other substances. It turned out that the identified inhibitors are able to stimulate the immune system, which makes them more effective drugs than many antibiotics. Moreover, all tested compounds were not toxic to humans.