Highly read on aac.asm.org in January

An antibiotic that disables protein synthesis seems to inhibit the growth of several strains of drug-resistant bacteria that are known to cause hospital infections.

Dickon Alley at Anacor Pharmaceuticals in Palo Alto, California, and his colleagues synthesized the antibacterial agent, which blocks the production of an enzyme that is essential for microbial protein synthesis and is designed to fight Gram-negative bacteria — which have an outer envelope that hampers the entry of antibiotics. The agent inhibited the growth of resistant bacteria — including the multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa — both in vitro and in a mouse model of infection. The properties of the antibacterial allow it to avoid the main mechanisms that Gram-negative bacteria use to fend off these drugs.

In a clinical trial, the antibiotic successfully cleared urinary-tract infections in some patients, but failed to do so in others because of bacterial resistance. The researchers say they are working to avoid this problem.

Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/AAC.02058-12 (2013)