A major human health problem in the area of infectious diseases is the
alarming increase in resistance to antibiotics in bacterial pathogens,
where some pathogens have become resistant to all antibiotics. Because
antibiotics target the products of essential genes, screening for previously
unknown essential genes can lead to the development of novel and effective
antibiotic drugs. There are estimated to be at least 400 essential
proteins in each bacterial species, leaving 385 unexplored proteins that
could serve as targets for the development of new antibiotics.
these proteins in pathogenic organisms is of great interest to the
industry because they encode potential antibiotic targets. Most of
the approaches used currently for identifying new antibiotic targets from
genomic information or genetic screening are time consuming and labor
My lab discovered a novel, extremely rapid method for identifying antibiotic
targets in pathogenic bacteria. This discovery led to the
of the technology and the formation of Elitra Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
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Also, see cover of this issue 43(6).
Grigorian, A. V., Lustig, R. B., Guzmán, E. C., Mahaffy, J. M.,
and Zyskind, J. W. (2003) Escherichia coli cells with increased
levels of DnaA and deficient in recombinational repair have decreased
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