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Very rare protein has potential for developing new antibiotics

02 August 2018

A research group at the University of Groningen (UG) has discovered a new protein that may be useful in developing new antibiotics. The findings were published in the journal Nature Communications on 2 August.

The protein, which the team named BtuM, is extremely rare because of its double function: it not only transports vitamin B12, but it also ensures the that vitamin is converted directly into a form that is suitable for use. Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient for both humans and bacteria.

Prof. Dirk Slotboom
Prof. Dirk Slotboom

New antibiotics

As the newly discovered protein is only present in bacteria, it may provide a basis for developing new antibiotics. In addition, it could play a role in stepping up the efficiency of the industrial-scale bio-production of vitamin B12. The research group that discovered the protein is headed by Professor of Biochemistry Dirk Slotboom.

More information

Reference: Dirk J. Slotboom, Stephan Rempel et al. ‘Cysteine-mediated decyanation of vitamin B12 by the predicted membrane transporter BtuM’, Nature Communications. 2 August 2018.

Last modified:03 August 2018 1.38 p.m.
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