This New study may help address drug resistant pneumococcal diseases

Dr. Amit Kumar with his team at his lab in IIT-Indore

New Delhi, February 21. Indian
researchers have identified three drug target sites in the
genome of Streptococcus pneumoniae, paving the way for developing newer
drugs to treat Pneumococcal diseases.

In recent years, Streptococcus pneumoniae has
rapidly acquired resistance to several available drugs. This has prompted
scientists to look for potential drug targets in the genome of the pathogen.

Over the years, various studies have indicated that a set of genome sequences called potential G-Quadruplex motifs (PGQs) are present in the regulatory regions of the genome of different organisms and they form unique structures called G-Quadruplexes, which influence various biological processes like DNA replication, recombination and gene expression through the genes where they are located.

In the new study,
a group of scientists of Indian Institute of Technology- Indore, and Translational Health Science and Technology Institute
Faridabad, have identified three potential
G-Quadruplex motifs in Streptococcus
in three essential genes called hsdS,
recD, and pmrA.

Speaking to India
Science Wire, Dr. Amit Kumar of Discipline of Biosciences and Biomedical Engineering at IIT
Indore, who was leader of the team, said, “Previous
studies have already observed that the three genes, where the potential
G-Quadruplex motifs were located play a vital role in providing virulence to
the bacteria, by participating in the host-pathogen interaction, drug-eflux
system and recombination – repair system. Now, we have gone deeper. The genome
sequences we have identified can be promising target sites for combating
Streptococcus pneumoniae infection”.

Asked about the next step, he said he and his team
are working on developing a small molecule that could be made to attach to the
genomic sequences forming the G-Quadruplex structures and thus prevent the expression
of the genes responsible for providing virulence to the pathogen. “We have some
very optimistic results already. But, more work has to be done”

Dr. Amit Kumar and his colleagues conducted the study in
collaboration with Dr. Tarun K. Sharma of Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI), Faridabad
and his team.  A report on the work has
been published in science journal Nature’s Scientific Reports. Apart from Dr.
Amit Kumar and Dr. Tarun Sharma, Dr.Subodh K Mishra, Dr.Arpita Tawani, Neha
Jain, and Uma Shankar were involved in the study.

By Sunderarajan Padmanabhan (India Science Wire)