Scientists develop new antibiotic from wasp venom

Wasp venom contains the solution to combat antibiotic-resistant germs?

Wasps are not one of the most popular visitors at activities in the fresh air. Many people have stitches afraid of the pain, or suffer from insect sting Allergy. But it is precisely these uninvited guests could soon save millions of lives. An American research team has developed from the wasp venom of a South American species of parasitoid wasp, a bacteria-killing agent that is non-toxic and, perhaps, as a new antibiotic is suitable.

The poison of wasps and bees kill off the bacteria, but is also toxic to humans. The researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (mit) has succeeded, the poison is not to change, that it acts in people-toxic. The anti-microbial properties. In Tests it was shown that the active ingredient abtötete even antibiotic resistant germs. The results of the study were recently published in the renowned scientific journal “Nature Communications Biology”.

From the poison to the cure

“We have transformed a toxic molecule into a molecule that is effective for the treatment of infectious diseases ist“, study author Dr. Cesar de la Fuente-Nunez in the press release reported the study results. The research team conducted a systematic analysis of the structure and function of the peptides found in wasp venom, and changed the properties so that they are toxic to humans.

To of the natural immune defense-oriented

Peptides are Compounds containing amino acids. Many organisms, including humans, make use of this as part of the immune defense to microbial killing in the body, by destroying the membranes of the bacterial cell. In the research peptides are considered no longer as the basis for new drugs. The research group could now isolierern a peptide from the wasp species Polybia paulista that is small enough to be used as an active substance against bacteria.

Wasp-poison-antibiotic destroys resistant strains of bacteria

The researchers test the drug in mice. The rodents were infected with the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This strain of bacteria can cause severe respiratory infections, and other infectious diseases and is resistant to most antibiotics. As the study shows, was able to eliminate the modified wasp-peptide, the strains of bacteria in the mice completely.

For human cells, non-toxic

In order to simulate the effect on the people, brought the researchers to the most effective peptide with infected human cells in contact, which were bred in the laboratory. “After four days, the peptide was able to eliminate the infection completely,” says de la Fuente-Nunez. Such a result, he had seen as yet no other experimental antibiotic.

Peptides are the antibiotics of the future?

“Some of the principles that we have learned here can also be applied to other similar peptides are applied, which originate from the nature”, says the expert. From this study, it could be a lot of the rules are derived, which are also available for further peptide research is important. (vb)