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Artificial Antimicrobial Peptides Could Help Overcome Drug-Resistant Bacteria


Artist's conception of artificial antimicrobial peptides.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Catholic University of Brasilia have developed a streamlined approach to developing antimicrobial peptide drugs.

Credit: Ella Marushchenko

The combined efforts of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Catholic University of Brasilia has resulted in the development of a streamlined approach to developing antimicrobial peptide drugs, using a computer algorithm that mimics natural evolution.

"This computational approach is much more cost-effective and much more time-effective" than previous methods, says MIT's Cesar de la Fuente-Nunez.

The algorithm can begin with any peptide sequence, generate scores of variants, and test them for specified traits.

"By using this approach, we were able to explore many, many more peptides than if we had done this manually," notes de la Fuente-Nunez. "Then we only had to screen a tiny fraction of the entirety of the sequences that the computer was able to browse through."

The researchers want to use this method to further develop a drug for potential human use following promising results in mice, and plan to use their algorithm to find other effective antimicrobial peptides.

From MIT News
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