Maryann Yacoub, Antibiotic Resistance and Antimicrobial Peptides: Assessing the activity of cationic AMPs in different environments
Antimicrobial Resistance (AR) is a phenomenon that occurs when bacteria, virus, fungi, and other microbial organisms develop biological mechanisms that allow them to bypass antimicrobials, the very drugs designed to kill them. Antibiotic resistance (AR) is exacerbated by the overuse, misuse, and medically warranted use of antibiotics. New antibiotics can be developed, but if the way that people use antibiotics does not change, then this problem will persist. We are running out of ways to treat very serious infections such as gonorrhea, tuberculosis, and pneumonia. The World Health Organization has identified antibiotic resistance as one of the three significant threats in the 21st century.
Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are natural or synthetic oligopeptides that can kill a broad range of microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses. They can be found naturally within plants, animals, and bacteria. AMPs were first discovered in 1939 by Dr. Rene Jules Dubos. He extracted a Bacillus strain from the soil, and he found that these bacteria protected mice from a pneumococci infection. A year later, Dr. Dubose and his colleague Dr. Rollin Douglas Hotchkiss isolated from this extract an AMP that was later named gramicidin. Overall, at least 5,000 AMPs have been discovered or synthesized as of this writing.
The AMPs discussed in this research project were synthesized by Dr. Walkenhorst and Dr. Wimley of Tulane University. These specific AMPs were selected from a random combinatorial library. The AMPs chosen out of the combinatorial library were *ARVA, D-CONGA, and L-CONGA. Research was carried out between September 2019 to March 2020.
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