Vancomycin

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Vancomycin is a complex glycopeptide[1] produced by the soil bacterium Amycolatopsis orientalis[2]. It is also known as 'Mississippi Mud' due to its dark colour and its general appearance when extracted as a natural product[3]. Its main usage is as an antibiotic, often given intravenously, used to treat skin infections, endocarditis, bloodstream infections, bone and joint infections and meningitis caused by the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus[4].

Mechanism of action as an antibiotic

Vancomycin works by inhibiting the synthesis of the bacterial cell wall, specifically by averting the reaction implying the linkage between the peptidoglycan precursors. In comparison to other antibiotics such as penicillin, this drug binds to the substrate (D-alanyl-D-alanine terminal dipeptide of peptidoglycan precursors), not the enzyme in order to inhibit the synthesis of the cell wall. This antibiotic has a great effect on Gram-positive bacteria, which use the thick peptidoglycan cell wall for protection, but recently bacteria have been developing resistance to it, so scientists are obliged to look for alternatives[5].

Alternatives

A new version of Vancomycin is being worked on that implies the introduction of a not often seen carbohydrate group, respectively seven-membered rings, which will hopefully be different enough for bacteria not to recognise[6].

References

  1. University of Kent. Vancomycin-a vital antibiotic. 1997 [cited 06/12/2018]; Available from: http://www.chm.bris.ac.uk/motm/vancomycin/text.htm
  2. European Bioinformatics Institute. CHEBI:28001 - vancomycin. 2017 [cited 06/12/2018]; Available from: https://www.ebi.ac.uk/chebi/searchId.do?chebiId=CHEBI:28001
  3. Hamilton.Students Researching Vancomycin Structure. 2009 [cited 06/12/2018]; Available from: https://www.hamilton.edu/news/story/students-researching-vancomycin-structure
  4. European Bioinformatics Institute. CHEBI:28001 - vancomycin. 2017 [cited 06/12/2018]; Available from: https://www.ebi.ac.uk/chebi/searchId.do?chebiId=CHEBI:28001
  5. University of Kent. Vancomycin-a vital antibiotic. 1997 [cited 06/12/2018]; Available from: http://www.chm.bris.ac.uk/motm/vancomycin/text.htm
  6. Hamilton. Students Researching Vancomycin Structure. 2009 [cited 06/12/2018]; Available from: https://www.hamilton.edu/news/story/students-researching-vancomycin-structure
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