- Oct 6, 2014
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In the continuing search for new antibiotic compounds, scientists have turned to the human microbiome and have discovered one in an unexpected place.
But a study from University of California San Francisco has found a natural antibiotic from an unexpected place: a vaginal bacteria.
To do this, scientists analyzed genes taken from the microbiome, the vast array of microbes that live on us and in us, to look for specific genes that make chemical products similar to known antibiotics. They found thousands that matched a type of antibiotic, called thiopeptides, that are currently under development by pharmaceutical companies.
When the team looked closer at these antibiotic-producing genes, hundreds were isolated to a vaginal bacteria called lactobacillus gasser. When the bacteria was grown in the lab, it produced thiopeptides that were able to kill off the Staph bacteria. The microbes in our guts and on our bodies are in constant competition with each other for resources, so its not surprising that one bacteria would produce a chemical that kills off another.