Friday, October 17, 2014

Protein in ticks could lead to new antibiotics

October 16, 2014

A protein in ticks that protects them against the cold could inspire a new class of antibiotics for humans, according to a Yale University study.

Scientists discovered that IAFGP, an antifreeze protein in ticks that kicks in during winter, also fights infection. Synthesizing such a protein may offer new therapies and medical applications to ward off dangerous pathogens such as MRSA.

"We wanted to know if this protein also has an anti-microbial function. Lo and behold, it does," said Erol Fikrig, the Waldemar Von Zedtwitz Professor of Medicine and chief of the Infectious Diseases Section at Yale School of Medicine, who was the study's principal investigator. "It prevents bacterial growth quite successfully."

The findings were published online Oct. 16 in the journal Cell Reports.

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