Researchers employ gene editing to develop new antibiotics

Gene editing is found to be new approach to produce complex antibiotics to reprogram pathways in future medicine. This is required urgently to combat antimicrobial resistance, tackle future pandemics, and treat neglected diseases.

In a new development, a team of researchers at the University of Manchester have discovered a new technique to manipulate key assembly line enzymes in bacteria. This could pave the way for a new generation of antibiotic treatments.

The study published in Nature Communications demonstrates how CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing can be used to develop new nonribosomal peptide synthetase enzymes that provide clinically important antibiotics. In fact, nonribosomal peptode synthetase enzymes are key ingredients of natural antibiotics such as penicillin.

Nonetheless, so far, manipulating complex enzymes to develop new and more effective antibiotics has been a challenge.

In fact, antimicrobial resistance infections are estimated to cause 700,000 deaths each year and is predicted to rise to 10 million, suggests the UK government. This is estimated to cost the global economy US$ 100 trillion by 2050.

The antimicrobial resistance infections also threatens a number of Sustainable Development Goals of the UN with an extra 28 million people that could be pushed into extreme poverty by 2050 unless the disease is contained.

Gene editing could be used to develop improved antibiotics and possibly lead to the development of new treatments. This could help in the fight against drug-resistant pathogens and diseases in the future. The emergence of antibiotics resistant microbes is one of the leading threats that is observed today.

Meanwhile, gene editing approach is considered to be very efficient and a rapid way to create complex assembly of line enzymes that can generate new antibiotic structures with potentially improved properties.

Gene Editing to play Role to Convert Storage Fat Cells into Energy-releasing Ones

In a new development, a team of researchers at Touchstone Diabetes Center, UT Southwestern Medical Center have successfully employed CRISPR gene editing. This is to convert normally used storage fat cells into energy burning cells.

The phenomenon works like flip of a switch. In the energy burning pathway of fat cells, removing the brake by engineering a mutation disrupts the interaction between a single pair of protein, stated the lead of the study.

The research demonstrates that discharging this brake in fat cells can potentially help to make existing medication more effective.

The research is published in Genes and Development and co-sponsored by the National institutes of Health.

In fact, there lies tremendous interest in propelling the production of energy burning fat cells as a line of treatment against metabolic disorders such as diabetes, termed as pandemic before the pandemic.

Physiologically, two types of fat cells are present in individuals: white cells that serve as energy storage site and expand in size and number for those with obesity, and energy-burning beige and brown cells that burn excess energy to generate heat and add to the energy expenditure.

Furthermore, beneficial brown fat cells also provide protection against the development of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Individuals with obesity have much lesser beige and brown fat cells, explains the expert.

According to data of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the U.S., the prevalence of obesity increased from 30.5% to 42.4% between 1999 and 2018, with considerable volume of this population developing diabetes subsequently.

Importantly, more than 30% of Americans are now diagnosed with diabetes, and another 18% of the population with diabetes remains undiagnosed or have prediabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.

Meanwhile, the price tag is overtly expensive as the cost of diagnosed diabetes care amounts to US$ 327 billion annually.