Anticonvulsant lamotrigine could have antibiotic promise, researchers suggest

E-coli ribosome structure, a number of drug candidates inhibit growth of the bacteria by inhibition of the ribosome, study finds

Antibiotics often target the way bacteria manufacture proteins by inhibiting the function of the ribosomes.

In a study published in eLIFE (online, 18 September 2014), researchers aimed to find out whether they could prevent the ribosomes from forming at all[1]
. They screened a library of 30,000 compounds, including 3,500 existing drugs, against strains of Escheria coli and found a number of drug candidates that inhibited growth of the bacteria by inhibition of the ribosome. One drug had a particularly profound effect on bacterial growth, the anticonvulsant medicine lamotrigine. Upon examination, it was found that the bacteria accumulated the ribosomal subunits but were unable to assemble them into a complete ribosome in the presence of lamotrigine.

On the basis of these results, the researchers believe that lamotrigine could be a lead for a whole new mechanistic class of antibiotics, as well as useful probes during research of bacterial ribosomes.  

References

[1]   Stokes JM  et al . Discovery of a small molecule that inhibits bacterial ribosome biogenesis.  eLIFE  2014. doi:  http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.03574 .

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Citation
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, 4 October 2014, Vol 293, No 7830;293(7830):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2014.20066645