Discovery of Chemical Reaction – Breakthrough in Antibiotics

Discovery of Chemical Reaction – Breakthrough in Antibiotics OUPT

A research team at the University of Bristol and Newcastle have made a new discovery on the use of the chemical reaction in a bacterium at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. Scientists believe that this discovery made in July 2017 would help in the development of new antibiotics and other medical treatments.

The Diels-Alder reaction is one of the most powerful chemical reactions discovered till date. The reaction is widely used in synthetic chemistry to produce molecules and agrochemicals. Some questions regarding this reaction pertaining to if nature uses of the reaction to produce its own enzymes have remained unanswered.

A research conducted by scientists at BrisSynBio and School of biology have studied natural Diels-Alderase and their findings show that a true ‘Diels-Alderase’, an enzyme, does exist, the atomic details for which have been noted.

Scientists found that the bacterium Verrucosispora maris which lives on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, uses the enzyme called AbyU to biosynthesize a molecule called abyssomicin C. The team solved the atomic structure to mimic the enzyme reaction through quantum mechanics. This resulted in the discovery of the antibiotic property the enzyme possesses.

Dr. Race, a researcher at BrisSynBio said “Once we had figured out how AbyU was able to make natural antibiotic, we were able to show that it could also perform the Diels-Alder reaction on other molecules that are difficult to transform using synthetic chemistry.”

The team is thus exploring ways to make molecules similar to abyssomisin C with the help of the enzyme, hoping to create more effective antibiotics than the natural molecule.

This discovery has successfully shown that enzymes can perform Diels-Alder reactions which will transform synthetic chemistry. The work of combining structural biology, synthetic chemistry and computational chemistry has resulted in this breakthrough which has the potential to broaden the scope of possibilities medical science and, materials and commodity chemicals.

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