Synthetic biology era: Improving antibiotic’s world

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Abstract

Graphical abstract

Synthetic biology improved antibiotic research using synthetic modules as starting point to create synthetic systems with enhanced metabolic capabilities. Metabolic pathway figure obtained from KEGG annotation.

The emergence of antibiotic-resistant pathogen microorganisms is problematic in the context of the current spectrum of available medication. The poor specificity and the high toxicity of some available molecules have made imperative the search for new strategies to improve the specificity and to pursue the discovery of novel compounds with increased bioactivity. Using living cells as platforms, synthetic biology has counteracted this problem by offering novel pathways to create synthetic systems with improved and desired functions. Among many other biotechnological approaches, the advances in synthetic biology have made it possible to design and construct novel biological systems in order to look for new drugs with increased bioactivity. Advancements have also been made in the redesigning of RNA and DNA molecules in order to engineer antibiotic clusters for antibiotic overexpression. As for the production of these antibacterial compounds, yeasts and filamentous fungi as well as gene therapy are utilized to enhance protein solubility. Specific delivery is achieved by creating chimeras using plant genes into bacterial hosts. Some of these synthetic systems are currently in clinical trials, proving the proficiency of synthetic biology in terms of both pharmacological activities as well as an increase in the biosafety of treatments. It is possible that we may just be seeing the tip of the iceberg, and synthetic biology applications will overpass expectations beyond our present knowledge.

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