Friday January 18, 2019

Platypus milk may help combat superbugs

The health body pleads for urgent action to avoid a "post-antibiotic era", where common infections and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades can once again kill

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Platypus milk can combat superbugs and save lives. IANS
Platypus milk can combat superbugs and save lives. IANS
  • Platypus milk can save lives
  • It can combat superbugs
  • It is due to a protein present in their milk

A protein present in the milk of the platypus can potentially save thousands of lives by effectively killing superbugs that has become increasingly resistant to antibiotic drugs, researchers say.

Due to its unique features — duck-billed, egg-laying, beaver-tailed and venomous, the platypus has long exerted a powerful appeal to scientists, making it an important subject in the study of evolutionary biology.

Formula made from Cow's milk may reduce the risk of diabetes
Milk of Platypus can save millions of lives. IANS

“Platypus are such weird animals that it would make sense for them to have weird biochemistry,” said lead author Janet Newman, researcher at Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Oganisation.

“The platypus belongs to the monotreme family, a small group of mammals that lay eggs and produce milk to feed their young. By taking a closer look at their milk, we’ve characterised a new protein that has unique antibacterial properties with the potential to save lives,” Newman added.

As platypus do not have teats, they express milk onto their belly for the young to suckle, exposing the mother’s highly nutritious milk to the environment and leaving babies susceptible to the perils of bacteria. Researchers believed that this might be the reason why the platypus milk contained a protein with rather unusual and protective anti-bacterial characteristics.

Also Read: Formula made from Cow’s milk may reduce the risk of diabetes

The discovery, detailed in the journal Structural Biology Communications, was made by replicating a special protein contained in platypus milk in a laboratory setting. The results showed a unique 3-D fold with ringlet-like formation, dubbed as the “Shirley Temple”.

“Although we’ve identified this highly unusual protein as only existing in monotremes, this discovery increases our knowledge of protein structures in general, and will go on to inform other drug discovery work done at the Centre,” Newman said. Antibiotic resistance has posed global threat that requires action across all government sectors and society, according to the World Health Organisation.

The health body pleads for urgent action to avoid a “post-antibiotic era”, where common infections and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades can once again kill. IANS

Next Story

Protein Found in Spinach May Treat Alcohol Abuse, Mood Disorders

The researchers are actively pursuing synthetic and computational strategies to improve these peptides to make them more effective

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Spinach, wikimedia

A large protein found in spinach may aid in the development of new medications for millions around the world dealing with alcohol use disorders, chronic pain and mood disorders, researchers said.

The study, led by researchers from the Purdue University, discovered two peptides which are naturally metabolic products of Rubisco — a large protein found in many plants like spinach — that may aid in the development of new medications.

“These disorders are currently not adequately managed,” said Richard van Rijn, Assistant Professor at Purdue.

 “Better medications that take a more holistic approach and produce fewer side effects will be beneficial.

“We discovered that these peptides selectively activate the known beneficial pathways without activating the ‘side-effect pathways’ of the receptor,” van Rijn added.

Spinach-protein may offer treatment for alcohol abuse, mood disorders.

The discovery, published in the European Neuropsychopharmacolgy, aims to develop molecules that only activate the cellular signalling pathways associated with their therapeutic effect.

Preclinical studies suggest that the peptides are orally bioavailable and able to penetrate the blood-brain barrier, both of which are necessary for a drug to effectively treat a disorder of the central nervous system, van Rijn said.

Also Read- Samsung To Unveil New Monitors For Gamers at CES 2019

The researchers are actively pursuing synthetic and computational strategies to improve these peptides to make them more effective.

The rubiscolin peptides are also being investigated for their ability to regulate dietary intake and are even commercially available in anti-ageing skin products. (IANS)