• The bacterium Helicobacter pylori which has been recognised as a type 1 carcinogen, is one of the major infection-causing organisms.
  • Scientists have been working to find new compounds that can specifically target the bacteria.
  • Researchers from IIT Gandhinagar have now designed a compound using indole as a building material that can do the job.
  • The indole-based compound was found to target an important bacterial enzyme (Hp IMPDH) that is essential for microbial proliferation.
  • The indole-based compound was able to bind to the enzyme very potently and inhibit its function,”
  • Unlike the currently used benzimidazole compounds that were metabolically unstable, indole-based compound proved to be stable.
  • By making simple chemical changes to the commercially available indole, they were able to create the compound that can inhibit the bacterial enzyme selectively over human enzyme.
  • The targeted H. pylori enzyme was expressed in E. coli and studied.
  • A detailed enzyme kinetic analysis showed that about 75% inhibition of the enzyme is brought about by the new compound.
  • This work is a starting point towards targeted therapy for many infections as the IMPDH enzyme is a potential target in many pathogens like Mycobacterium, Streptococcus pneumoniae.