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Inhibitors of Bacterial Toxins Identified

Novel yeast system used

THURSDAY, March 20 (HealthDay News) -- Using a novel yeast system, small molecule inhibitors of bacterial toxins have been identified, according to research published in the February issue of PLoS Genetics.

Anthony Arnoldo, from the University of Toronto in Ontario, Canada, and colleagues used a cell-based yeast phenotypic assay and a large-scale inhibitor screen to identify small molecules that could suppress the toxicity of 505 individual Pseudomonas aeruginosa genes.

The researchers found that the inhibitor exosin inhibited the activity of Exoenzyme S, a toxin involved in Type III secretion. Exosin also protected mammalian cells against infection. Several yeast homologs of the known human targets of Exoenzyme S were also identified and found to be modified by the toxin.

"Together, these observations validate our yeast-based approach for uncovering novel antibiotics," Arnoldo and colleagues conclude. "These compounds can be used as a starting point for new therapeutic treatments, and a similar strategy could be applied to a broad range of human pathogens like viruses or parasites."

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