Het helpt bij het vinden van een nieuw antibioticum om resistente infecties te bestrijden

Conceptenillustratie van antibiotica die bacteriën vernietigen

AI-technologie hielp onderzoekers van MIT en McMaster University bij het identificeren van een nieuw antibioticum genaamd abaucin, effectief tegen Acinetobacter baumannii, een in het ziekenhuis verworven, geneesmiddelresistente bacterie. Het medicijn, ontdekt door middel van een machine learning-model, is belangrijk vanwege de werkzaamheid met een smal spectrum en het unieke mechanisme om de handel in lipoproteïnen in bacteriële cellen te verstoren.

Het machine learning-algoritme identificeerde een stof die Acinetobacter baumannii doodt, een bacterie die in veel ziekenhuizen op de loer ligt.

Met behulp van een algoritme van kunstmatige intelligentie hebben onderzoekers van MIT en McMaster University een nieuw antibioticum geïdentificeerd dat een soort bacterie kan doden die verantwoordelijk is voor veel resistente infecties.

Als het wordt ontwikkeld voor gebruik bij patiënten, kan het medicijn helpen terug te vechten Acinetobacter baumanniieen[{” attribute=””>species of bacteria that is often found in hospitals and can lead to pneumonia, meningitis, and other serious infections. The microbe is also a leading cause of infections in wounded soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Acinetobacter can survive on hospital doorknobs and equipment for long periods of time, and it can take up antibiotic resistance genes from its environment. It’s really common now to find A. baumannii isolates that are resistant to nearly every antibiotic,” says Jonathan Stokes, a former

Artificial Intelligence New Antibiotic

Using an artificial intelligence algorithm, researchers at MIT and McMaster University have identified a new antibiotic that can kill a type of bacteria (Acinetobacter baumannii, pink) that is responsible for many drug-resistant infections. Credit: Christine Daniloff/MIT; Acinetobacter baumannii image courtesy of CDC

“This finding further supports the premise that AI can significantly accelerate and expand our search for novel antibiotics,” says James Collins, the Termeer Professor of Medical Engineering and Science in MIT’s Institute for Medical Engineering and Science (IMES) and Department of Biological Engineering. “I’m excited that this work shows that we can use AI to help combat problematic pathogens such as A. baumannii.”

Collins and Stokes are the senior authors of the new study, which was published on May 25 in the journal Nature Chemical Biology. The paper’s lead authors are McMaster University graduate students Gary Liu and Denise Catacutan and recent McMaster graduate Khushi Rathod.

Drug discovery

Over the past several decades, many pathogenic bacteria have become increasingly resistant to existing antibiotics, while very few new antibiotics have been developed.

Several years ago, Collins, Stokes, and MIT Professor Regina Barzilay (who is also an author on the new study), set out to combat this growing problem by using

Once the model was trained, the researchers used it to analyze a set of 6,680 compounds it had not seen before, which came from the Drug Repurposing Hub at the Broad Institute. This analysis, which took less than two hours, yielded a few hundred top hits. Of these, the researchers chose 240 to test experimentally in the lab, focusing on compounds with structures that were different from those of existing antibiotics or molecules from the training data.

Those tests yielded nine antibiotics, including one that was very potent. This compound, which was originally explored as a potential diabetes drug, turned out to be extremely effective at killing A. baumannii but had no effect on other species of bacteria including Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, and carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae.

This “narrow spectrum” killing ability is a desirable feature for antibiotics because it minimizes the risk of bacteria rapidly spreading resistance against the drug. Another advantage is that the drug would likely spare the beneficial bacteria that live in the human gut and help to suppress opportunistic infections such as Clostridium difficile.

“Antibiotics often have to be administered systemically, and the last thing you want to do is cause significant dysbiosis and open up these already sick patients to secondary infections,” Stokes says.

A novel mechanism

In studies in mice, the researchers showed that the drug, which they named abaucin, could treat wound infections caused by A. baumannii. They also showed, in lab tests, that it works against a variety of drug-resistant A. baumannii strains isolated from human patients.

Further experiments revealed that the drug kills cells by interfering with a process known as lipoprotein trafficking, which cells use to transport proteins from the interior of the cell to the cell envelope. Specifically, the drug appears to inhibit LolE, a protein involved in this process.

All Gram-negative bacteria express this enzyme, so the researchers were surprised to find that abaucin is so selective in targeting A. baumannii. They hypothesize that slight differences in how A. baumannii performs this task might account for the drug’s selectivity.

“We haven’t finalized the experimental data acquisition yet, but we think it’s because A. baumannii does lipoprotein trafficking a little bit differently than other Gram-negative species. We believe that’s why we’re getting this narrow spectrum activity,” Stokes says.

Stokes’ lab is now working with other researchers at McMaster to optimize the medicinal properties of the compound, in hopes of developing it for eventual use in patients.

The researchers also plan to use their modeling approach to identify potential antibiotics for other types of drug-resistant infections, including those caused by Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Reference: “Deep learning-guided discovery of an antibiotic targeting Acinetobacter baumannii” by Gary Liu, Denise B. Catacutan, Khushi Rathod, Kyle Swanson, Wengong Jin, Jody C. Mohammed, Anush Chiappino-Pepe, Saad A. Syed, Meghan Fragis, Kenneth Rachwalski, Jakob Magolan, Michael G. Surette, Brian K. Coombes, Tommi Jaakkola, Regina Barzilay, James J. Collins and Jonathan M. Stokes, 25 May 2023, Nature Chemical Biology.
DOI: 10.1038/s41589-023-01349-8

The research was funded by the David Braley Center for Antibiotic Discovery, the Weston Family Foundation, the Audacious Project, the C3.ai Digital Transformation Institute, the Abdul Latif Jameel Clinic for Machine Learning in Health, the DTRA Discovery of Medical Countermeasures Against New and Emerging Threats program, the

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