Novel Antibiotic Targets – Conserved Nucleotide Elements in Ribosomal RNA (Case 2211) (EA)

Principal Investigator:


Susan A. Gerbi, Ph.D, Professor of Biochemistry

Department of Bio Med Molecular, Cellular Biology Biochemistry

Brown University

Providence, RI


Brief Description:

Antibiotic resistance is a current and increasing threat to public health. Antibiotic resistant bacterial infections are difficult or even impossible to treat with our current arsenal of antibiotics. Moreover, antibiotic resistant infections are becoming more prevalent. Thus, there is an urgent need to develop new, effective antibiotics.

This invention, a method, is the bioinformatics-based discovery of novel targets for the development of new antibiotics. Bacterial-specific conserved nucleotide elements (CNEs) are sequences of ribosomal RNA that are fully conserved across all species of bacteria, but not conserved in humans or any other eukaryotes. These bacterial-specific CNEs, essential for bacterial viability, are optimal antibiotic targets. Mutations in bacterial-specific CNEs are lethal to bacteria, thus antibiotics targeting these CNEs would be less susceptible to resistance acquired by mutations. Antibiotics targeting bacterial-specific CNEs should cause minimal side effects, since these CNEs are not conserved in humans. Finally, as bacterial-specific CNEs are present across all types of bacteria, targeting these CNEs has the potential to yield broad spectrum antibiotics.


Bacterial-specific CNEs represent excellent targets against which new antibiotics can be developed. New antibiotics will be increasingly needed to treat bacterial infections that are resistant to current antibiotics. 




US patent application 14/204,223 is pending.


Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Margaret Shabashevich,
Manager of Operations
Office of Industry Engagement & Commercial Venturing
Brown University
Susan Gerbi
Benjamin Raphael
Julia Beamesderfer
Stephen Doris
Deborah Smith
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