A study of the Infection Systems Biology Laboratory, of the Microbiology Group of Vall d'Hebron Research Institute recently published in Nature Communications would lay the groundwork for the design of a new battery of antibiotics with completely different mechanisms of action to what we know so far. The finding is part of a current context in which the emergence of strains resistant to traditional antibiotics is complicating the treatment of some bacterial infections.
The researchers, led by Dr. Marc Torrent, have identified who the proteins of the bacterium Yersinia pestis, the cause of the plague, interact with host proteins during infection. In the studies that had been published until now it had been established the existence of such interactions, but not its relevance in the global infections. In this work we have studied the maps of interactions between pathogen and host proteins and have been correlated with the degree of importance in the infection process.
When studying a single body, you can set your interactome, ie, the set of interactions among their own proteins. This is much studied by humans, bacteria, flies and other organisms. However, in the case of infections, it should be taken into account not only the interactome agencies involved but also crossed interactions between the two organisms, namely the host-pathogen interactome. Dr. Torrent stresses that "the number of interactions that makes a protein of the microorganism with other host proteins is correlated with the essence of that protein in the infection process."
The study has found that in order to understand and attack infections it is important to identify interactions between proteins that are essential for the survival of the microorganism in the host.
Because of this study, the researchers are working on validation and structural characterization of the interactions they have found. Knowing the surfaces of interaction between the host and the pathogen will allow to design mimetics, ie, substances that mimic the surfaces of interaction and that would inhibit the interaction of the pathogen with the host, preventing that the infection occurs.