News Column

Chemists design molecules for controlling bacterial behavior

May 30, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Health & Medicine Week -- Yan-Yeung Luk, associate professor of chemistry, has spearheaded the discovery, in conjunction with his research lab at Syracuse University and the Wang Lab at SUNY Upstate Medical University. Their findings are the subject of a forthcoming article in the journal ChemBioChem (John Wiley & Sons Inc.) (see also Bacterial Infections).

"Since the discovery of the first antibiotic, penicillin, in 1928, bacteria have become smarter and have developed resistance to many drugs," says Luk, an expert in bio-organic chemistry, nanomaterials and chemical biology. "They've done this by altering their genetic make-up; transferring drug-resistant genes between one another; and creating biofilms, which are multicellular communities where bacteria can be a thousand-fold more resistant to antibiotics."

In response, Luk's team has developed a class of chemical agents that does not kill bacteria but, rather, changes their multicellular behaviors. These agents are called disaccharide derivatives, and they mimic a class of natural molecules known as rhamnolipids, which are produced and secreted by the bacterium itself.

Keywords for this news article include: Chemicals, Chemistry, Syracuse University, Bacterial Infections and Mycoses.

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Source: Health & Medicine Week


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