Research Highlights | Published:

Pharmacology: Silent killer

Nature volume 456, page 548 (04 December 2008) | Download Citation

Subjects

Image: D. GUERCHOIS/REUTERS

Experimental drugs called bicyclic nitroimidazoles kill non-replicating as well as replicating bacteria, making them promising candidates for the treatment of latent tuberculosis. One such compound, PA-824, does this by a mechanism that suggests a new avenue for anti-infective drug design, report Clifton Barry of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland, and his colleagues.

PA-824 inhibits cell division by interfering with the manufacture of bacteria's sticky outer layers. Barry and his colleagues report that it also generates nitric oxide, which is toxic regardless of whether or not a cell is dividing. PA-824 should not have this effect on mammalian cells or on all bacteria — only on bacteria such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis that produce a compound known as F420. This is needed for the drug to trigger nitric oxide release.

About this article

Publication history

Published

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/456548a

Authors

    Comments

    By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

    Newsletter Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing