Arsinothricin: a Broad-Spectrum Antibiotic – IP 1809

New antibiotics are urgently needed because theemergence of resistance has rendered many clinically used antibioticsineffective. The WHO recently issued a global priority pathogen list ofantibiotic resistant bacteria that pose the greatest threat to human health toguide and promote research and development of new antibiotics. Arsenic is the most pervasive environmentaltoxic element, yet the use of arsenicals as antimicrobial and anticancer agentsis well-established. FIU inventors have demonstrated that arsinothricin (AST), anon-proteinogenic analog of glutamate that inhibits glutamine synthetase, is aneffective broad-spectrum antibiotic against both Gram-positive andGram-negative bacteria, suggesting that bacteria have evolved the ability toutilize the pervasive environmental toxic metalloid arsenic to produce a potentantimicrobial.Notably, AST effectively kills some of the mostnotorious bacteria affecting public health, including the “last resortantibiotic” carbapenem-resistant Enterobacter cloacae, a World HealthOrganization (WHO)-designated global priority pathogen, as well asMycobacterium bovis, which causes tuberculosis in cattle, whereas it is notcytotoxic to human monocytes, indicating that this novel arsenic-containingantibiotic can highly selectively kill pathogens. These findings have the potential for developmentof a new class of organoarsenical antimicrobials against drug-resistantpathogens. Anne Laure Schmitt Olivier aschmitt@fiu.edu 305-348-5948

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