Nav: Home

Rare fungus product reduces resistance to antibiotics

July 15, 2016

Besides mushrooms such as truffles or morels, also many yeast and mould fungi, as well as other filamentous fungi belong to the Ascomycota phylum. They produce metabolic products which can act as natural antibiotics to combat bacteria and other pathogens. Penicillin, one of the oldest antibiotic agents, is probably the best known example. Since then, fungi have been regarded as a promising biological source of antibiotic compounds. Researchers expect that there is also remedy for resistant pathogens among these metabolites.

It depends on the stimulus

However, agents like penicillin are only produced when necessary, not permanently. "Fungi can even deactivate the respective parts of their genome if a metabolite is not needed anymore. These compounds can't be detected any longer and are classified as cryptic compounds," explained Christoph Zutz from the Institute for Milk Hygiene, Milk Technology and Food Science of the Vetmeduni Vienna.

The right stimulus can reinduce the production of antibiotic compounds. The researchers used valproic acid which can induce the activation of such deactivated genes in fungi. In the fungus Doratomyces microsporus, valproic acid even induced the production of several antimicrobial compounds.

Rare compound detected in fungi for the first time

The gained metabolites were effective against a "normal", as well as resistant Staphylococcus aureus pathogens. The team succeeded in filtering out the six most active compounds from all metabolites. These six compounds have been regarded as "cryptic" so far. One compound, cyclo-(L-proline-L-methionine) or cPM, could be detected even for the first time in a fungus. The only source of this compound so far has been a bacterium living in an Antarctic sponge.

Boosting effect as an asset in the fight against resistance

The as yet "cryptic" compound cPM has a special function. It boosts the activity of other antimicrobial compounds. The team assumes that particularly this boosting effect constitutes the effect these compounds have on the tested pathogens.

Therefore, the researchers went a step further and tested the newly detected compound cPM together with ampicillin in two ampicillin-resistant bacteria. The combination has proved successful. "The resistance was demonstrably reduced, even at a lower dose of ampicillin than usually," said co-author and corresponding group leader Kathrin Rychli.

New research platform is looking at the big picture

The team is now going to search for novel antibiotic compounds from other microorganisms by applying similar methods. The new research platform "Bioactive Microbial Metabolites" (BiMM) in Tulln (Lower Austria) provides the facility. BiMM represents the detection of bioactive compounds - metabolites - in microorganisms. "Valproic acid is not the only way to gain active compounds from fungi or other microorganisms. You can also make bacteria and fungi grow together. This also leads to a natural stimulus," explained Joseph Strauss from the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, who heads the platform. For this purpose, researchers from the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna and the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna founded this new research core facility.

Christoph Zutz identified a significant advantage of this inter-university research platform. "Unlike industrial enterprises, we investigate all promising metabolites in microorganisms, not only single chemical compounds. Thus, we consider known and cryptic compounds in our analyses."
-end-
Service: The article „Valproic Acid Induces Antimicrobial Compound Production in Doratomyces microspores" by Christoph Zutz, Markus Bacher, Alexandra Parich, Bernhard Kluger, Agnieszka Gacek-Matthews, Rainer Schuhmacher, Martin Wagner, Kathrin Rychli and Joseph Strauss was published in the Journal Frontiers in Microbiology. http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fmicb.2016.00510/full

About the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna

The University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna in Austria is one of the leading academic and research institutions in the field of Veterinary Sciences in Europe. About 1,300 employees and 2,300 students work on the campus in the north of Vienna which also houses five university clinics and various research sites. Outside of Vienna the university operates Teaching and Research Farms. http://www.vetmeduni.ac.at

Scientific Contact:
Kathrin Rychli
Institute for Milk Hygiene, Milk Technology and Food Science
University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna (Vetmeduni Vienna)
T +43 1 25077 3510
kathrin.rychli@vetmeduni.ac.at
and
Christoph Zutz
Institute for Milk Hygiene, Milk Technology and Food Science
University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna (Vetmeduni Vienna)
T +43 1 4765494184
christoph.zutz@vetmeduni.ac.at

Released by:
Georg Mair
Science Communication / Corporate Communications
University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna (Vetmeduni Vienna)
T +43 1 25077-1165
georg.mair@vetmeduni.ac.at

University of Veterinary Medicine -- Vienna

Related Fungus Articles:

Single fungus amplifies Crohn's disease symptoms
A microscopic fungus called Candida tropicalis triggered gut inflammation and exacerbated symptoms of Crohn's disease, in a recent study conducted at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.
A novel anticandidal compound containing sulfur from endophytic fungus
There is a continuous search for new, safe and relatively cheaper drugs with the advent of new diseases and increasing antibiotic resistance.
Plants cheat too: A new species of fungus-parasitizing orchid
Plants usually produce their own nutrients by using sun energy, but not all of them.
How a fungus inhibits the immune system of plants
A newly discovered protein from a fungus is able to suppress the innate immune system of plants.
What happens to a pathogenic fungus grown in space?
A new study, published this week in mSphere, provides evidence that Aspergillus fumigatus, a significant opportunistic fungal threat to human health, grows and behaves similarly on the International Space Station compared with earth.
Fungus a possible precursor of severe respiratory diseases in pigs
Pneumocystis carinii causes mild forms of pneumonia in pigs and was considered of low diagnostic relevance.
Rare fungus product reduces resistance to antibiotics
Microorganisms, among them fungi, are a natural and rich source of antibiotic compounds.
How to organize a cell: Novel insight from a fungus
University of Exeter researchers have found novel insight into the ways cells organise themselves.
Deadly fungus threatens African frogs
Misty mountains, glistening forests and blue-green lakes make Cameroon, the wettest part of Africa, a tropical wonderland for amphibians.
Invasive amphibian fungus could threaten US salamander populations
A deadly fungus causing population crashes in wild European salamanders could emerge in the United States and threaten already declining amphibians here, according to a report released today by the US Geological Survey.

Related Fungus Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Changing The World
What does it take to change the world for the better? This hour, TED speakers explore ideas on activism—what motivates it, why it matters, and how each of us can make a difference. Guests include civil rights activist Ruby Sales, labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, author Jeremy Heimans, "craftivist" Sarah Corbett, and designer and futurist Angela Oguntala.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#521 The Curious Life of Krill
Krill may be one of the most abundant forms of life on our planet... but it turns out we don't know that much about them. For a create that underpins a massive ocean ecosystem and lives in our oceans in massive numbers, they're surprisingly difficult to study. We sit down and shine some light on these underappreciated crustaceans with Stephen Nicol, Adjunct Professor at the University of Tasmania, Scientific Advisor to the Association of Responsible Krill Harvesting Companies, and author of the book "The Curious Life of Krill: A Conservation Story from the Bottom of the World".