A new class of antibiotics proved to be extremely effective against multi-resistant pathogens. The so-called fibupeptides inhibit the energy metabolism of bacteria by destroying the electrical potential of biomembranes.
The health threat posed by antibiotic-resistant bacteria is currently on the rise, making the search for new antibiotics essential. As early as 2016, German researchers discovered a completely new class of antibiotics with lugdunin from the human nose. The cyclic peptide originates from the bacterium Staphylococcus lugdunensis and has a very strong antimicrobial effect, including against MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) germs.
Novel mechanism of action detected in fibupeptides
Since then, scientists have produced numerous derivatives of lugdunin and have tracked down the substance’s action mechanism. Fibupeptides, including lugdunin, can transport positively charged hydrogen ions through a biomembrane and thus neutralize the charge difference between the inside and outside of the membrane. The bacterium defacto suffers an energy standstill and dies.
Another interesting observation so far is that since the effect of lugdunin does not seem to be based on spatial interactions, the development of resistance to the new substance may be significantly delayed. In fact, the researchers have not yet been able to produce any resistance in the laboratory until the present.
Schilling NA et al., Applied Chemistry 2019; doi.org/10.1002/anie.201901589