Crop Biotech Update

Scientists Produce New Antibiotics Using CRISPR-Cas9

December 1, 2021

Scientists from The University of Manchester have discovered a new way to produce complex antibiotics using CRISPR gene editing to reprogram pathways to future medicines urgently needed to fight antimicrobial resistance, treat neglected diseases, and tackle future pandemics.

The Manchester researchers used CRISPR-Cas9 to create new nonribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS) enzymes that deliver clinically important antibiotics. NRPS enzymes are prolific producers of natural antibiotics such as penicillin. However, manipulating these complex enzymes to produce new and more effective antibiotics has been a major challenge for scientists to date.

The team says gene editing could be used to produce improved antibiotics and possibly lead to the development of new treatments in the fight against drug-resistant pathogens and illnesses in the future. Jason Micklefield, Professor of Chemical Biology at the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology (MIB), UK, explains: "The emergence of antibiotic-resistant pathogens is one of the biggest threats we face today. The gene editing approach we developed is a very efficient and rapid way to engineer complex assembly line enzymes that can produce new antibiotic structures with potentially improved properties."

For more details, read the article in The University of Manchester Newsroom.

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