HOME ABOUT CONTACT AVAILABLE ISSUES SUBSCRIBE MEDIA & ADS
LATEST UPDATES » Vol 25, No. 02, February 2022 – A Step into The Future: Innovative Ideas to Shape the Technology of Tomorrow       » New Bio-inspired Material Could Replace Conventional Plastics       » Partnership for Development of AI-Powered Telehealth-Radiology Platform       » Delivering a Complete Digital Health Ecosystem through Strategic Partnership       » Motivational Robots to Help Improve Learning       » Hope for Vaccine Against Herpes Virus      
Vol 25, No. 02, February 2021   |   Issue PDF view/purchase
BIOBOARD
Targeting Bacteria using Customizable Hydrolytic Enzymes
Researchers from the Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Interdisciplinary Research Group (IRG) at Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART), MIT’s research enterprise in Singapore, have developed a method to produce customisable engineered lysins that can be used to selectively kill bacteria of interest while leaving others unharmed.

Lysins are enzymes produced by bacteriophages to break open the bacteria cells while treating infections, and have demonstrated potential as a novel class of antimicrobials. A major advantage of lysins is that they allow fast and targeted killing against specific bacterium of choice without inducing resistance.

Using this characteristic of lysins, a research team from SMART devised a method of customizing the lysins to selectively target bacteria of interest to help fight bacterial infections. The discovery presents a promising alternative to antibiotics for treating existing drug-resistant bacteria and bacterial infections without the risk of causing resistance. The emergence of multidrug-resistant bacteria has left even minor bacterial infections incurable by many existing antibiotics, with at least 700,000 deaths each year due to drug-resistant diseases according to the World Health Organisation.

The results of the research were published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology, where the SMART AMR team demonstrated one of the methods to customise the lytic spectrum of engineered lysins.

The study revealed how SMART’s engineered lysins were able to selectively kill bacteria like Staphylococci, Enterococcus faecalis, while leaving the Enterococcus faecium bacteria of the same genus unharmed. This is the first report of a chimeric lysin that can both target bacteria of multiple genera as well as selectively kill one bacterial species within a genus over another.

“The human body contains trillions of bacteria, which form the microbiome, and the majority of the bacteria is either harmless or beneficial to us,” said AMR Research Scientist and corresponding author of the paper Dr Goh Boon Chong. “What happens when we are on an antibiotic course is that the antibiotics kill all of the bacteria, leaving us vulnerable to a worse re-infection after we have completed the antibiotic course. Since lysins respect the microbiome and only eliminate the bad pathogenic bacteria, they are a very promising alternative for treating bacterial infections.”

Awarded with the Ignition and Innovation Grants from SMART Innovation Centre, Dr Goh’s team has established the foundation of a technology platform by producing the lysins and testing them in vitro, and are in the process of developing a series of techniques to engineer the lysins.

Ms. Hana Sakina Bte Muhammad Jai, lead author of the paper and Laboratory Assistant under Dr Goh’s team at SMART also shared that the lysins have the potential to be mass produced. “Our study clearly shows how modifying these proteins translates to improvements of their specificity and antibacterial activities.” She added.

“In the lab, we have observed that once a small amount of lysin is added, it only takes 30 minutes to completely kill the bacteria making them a very safe and efficient choice for removing unwanted bacteria,” says Ms. Linh Chi Dam, the co-first author of the paper and Laboratory Technologist under Dr Goh’s team at SMART. “While developments in the production of customised lysins would greatly impact pharmaceutical industries where lysins can be used to treat bacterial infections, skincare and consumer care industries would also benefit by using lysins as a targeted agent to remove unwanted bacteria from their products.”

The research is carried out by SMART and supported by the National Research Foundation (NRF) Singapore under its Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise (CREATE) programme. The SMART AMR team was also recently awarded the Intra-CREATE Seed Collaboration Grant to investigate lysins targeting Gram-negative bacteria such as, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Acinetobacter baumannii, and Klebsiella pneumoniae.

NEWS CRUNCH  
news CPhI & P-MEC China gives a glimpse of the success returning pharma events will deliver in 2021
news Highlights from the E&L China 2020 Conference
news Asia’s ageing population drives development of rehabilitation technologies targeting elderly disabilities
news Virtual Expo Connect to empower access for international pharma to the world’s largest pharma ingredients market
SPOTLIGHT  

MAGAZINE TAGS
About Us
Events
Available issues
Editorial Board
Letters to Editor
Contribute to APBN
Advertise with Us
CONTACT
World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd.
5 Toh Tuck Link, Singapore 596224
Tel: 65-6466-5775
Fax: 65-6467-7667
» For Editorial Enquiries:
   biotech_edit@wspc.com or Ms Deborah Seah
» For Subscriptions, Advertisements &
   Media Partnerships Enquiries:
   biotech_ad@wspc.com
Copyright© 2021 World Scientific Publishing Co Pte Ltd  •  Privacy Policy