Study reveals protein structure of infectious disease pathogens

A new study recently mapped the protein structures of thousands of infectious disease organisms.

The knowledge gained from the study could potentially lead to new investigations for the development of vaccines and therapeutics against pathogens such as plague, anthrax, cholera and influenza, according to

The study was undertaken by researchers from the Center for Structural Genomics of Infectious Diseases and the Seattle Structural Genomics Center for Infectious Diseases. It was funded, in part, by five year contracts issued by the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Scientists from both centers utilized X-ray crystallography and nuclear magnetic resonance to examine more than 40 human pathogens at the atomic level.

"We are laying the groundwork for drug discovery. Determining protein structures can help researchers find potential targets for new drugs, essential enzymes, and possible vaccine candidates," Dr. Wayne Anderson, the head of CSGID said, reports.

Anderson said that the project could help fight emerging drug-resistance in bacteria.

"By determining the structure of proteins targeted by these drugs, we can now look at how the atoms are arranged in space and how they interact with one another. Then researchers can determine how the bacterium developed resistance and figure out what to change in the drug so that the bacteria will not recognize it," Anderson said, according to