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Targeting Microbes
In the Literature.

Here, GNN posts the abstracts of five papers about discovering drug targets in microbial pathogens.


The role of genomics in antibacterial target discovery.

Complete DNA sequence information has now been obtained for several prokaryotic genomes, defining the entire genetic complement of these organisms. The collection of genomic data has provided new insights into the molecular architecture of bacterial cells, revealing the basic genetic and metabolic structures that support viability of the organisms. Genomic information has also revealed new avenues for inhibition of bacterial growth and viability, expanding the number of possible drug targets for antibiotic discovery. This review examines how genomic sciences and experimental tools are applied to antibacterial target discovery, the necessary first step in the development of new antibiotic classes. Significant advances have been realized in the development of functional genomic, comparative genomic, and proteomic methods for the analysis of completed genomes. The combination of these methods can be used to systematically parse the genome and identify targets worthy of inhibitor screens. Two basic categories of targets emerge from this exercise, comprising in vitro essential targets required for bacterial viability on synthetic media and in vivo essential targets required to establish and maintain infection within a host organism. Current use of genomic information is focused primarily on a definition of all in vitro essential targets that satisfy criteria of selectivity, spectrum, and novelty. As the genomes of additional bacterial pathogens are solved, it will be possible to select in vivo essential targets common to groups of select pathogens (e.g., bacterial agents of community acquired pneumonia) or even pathogen-specific targets. Consideration of host-pathogen interactions, defined at the level of gene expression for each organism, might provide novel therapeutic options in the future.

Curr Med Chem 2001 Dec;8(14):1763-76

Finding drug targets in microbial genomes.

In this era of genomic science, knowledge about biological function is integrated increasingly with DNA sequence data. One area that has been significantly impacted by this accumulation of information is the discovery of drugs to treat microbial infections. Genome sequencing and bioinformatics is driving the discovery and development of novel classes of broad-spectrum antimicrobial compounds, and could enable medical science to keep pace with the increasing resistance of bacteria, fungi and parasites to current antimicrobials. This review discusses the use of genomic information in the rapid identification of target genes for antimicrobial drug discovery.

Drug Discov Today 2001 Sep 1;6(17):887-892

Microarrays for studying the host transcriptional response to microbial infection and for the identification of host drug targets.

It is essential to understand the molecular basis of a host's response to microbial infection so that disease and tissue damage can be prevented. Modulation of host RNA expression is a critical set of molecular changes that occur upon infection. Global analysis of gene expression should provide an understanding of host RNA transcriptional changes that occur upon host-pathogen interaction. This series of articles focuses on the use of microarrays for analyzing the transcriptional response of a host to microbial infection and for drug target identification.

Microbes Infect 2001 Aug;3(10):813-21

The impact of microbial genomics on antimicrobial drug development.

There is an urgent need to develop novel classes of antibiotics to counter the threat of the spread of multiply resistant bacterial pathogens. The availability of the complete genome sequence of many pathogenic microbes provides information on every potential drug target and is an invaluable resource in the search for novel compounds. Here, we review the approaches being taken to exploit the genome databases through a combination of bioinformatics, transcriptional analysis, and a further understanding of the molecular basis of the disease process. The emphasis is changing from compound screening to target hunting, as the latter offers flexible ways to design and optimize the next generation of broad-spectrum antibiotics.

Annu Rev Genomics Hum Genet 2001;2:259-69

Integrated bacterial genomics for the discovery of novel antimicrobials.

Sequencing of bacterial genomes has been progressing with breathtaking speed. Currently, the genomes of 23 bacterial species are sequenced, with approximately 40 more sequencing projects in progress. Industrial research is now facing the challenge of translating this information efficiently into drug discovery. This review will summarize the impact of bacterial genomics, bioinformatics and second-generation genomic technologies on target identification, assay development, lead optimization and compound characterization.

Drug Discov Today 2000 Mar;5(3):107-114

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