Mechanism of a natural compound obtained from plant species including Coffee

Mechanism of a natural compound obtained from plant species including Coffee

 -Navneet Kumar Gupta 

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee have discovered the antibacterial properties of a natural compound chlorogenic acid, an aromatic compound found in many plant species including coffee. The team has unravelled the antibacterial properties chlorogenic acid, an aromatic compound found in many plant species including Coffee.

A research team has gained the structural insights into the mechanism of antibacterial properties of the natural compound using state of art technique of X-ray crystallography. The team of scientists, led by Dr. Pravindra Kumar from Department of Biotechnology, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, used next-generation X-ray crystallography techniques to look deep into the bacterial metabolic pathways and unravelled the molecular basis of bacterial inhibition caused by chlorogenic acid.

Antibiotics, also called antibacterials, are a type of antimicrobial drug used in the treatment and prevention of bacterial infections. They may either kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria. A limited number of antibiotics also possess antiprotozoal activity. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses such as the common cold or influenza; drugs which inhibit viruses are termed antiviral drugs or antivirals rather than antibiotics.
Sometimes the term antibiotic is used to refer to any substance used against microbes, synonymous with antimicrobial. Some sources distinguish between antibacterial and antibiotic; antibacterials are used in soapsand disinfectants, while antibiotics are used as medicine.

Antibiotics are used to treat or prevent bacterial infections, and sometimes protozoan infections. (Metronidazole is effective against a number of parasitic diseases). When an infection is suspected of being responsible for an illness but the responsible pathogen has not been identified, an empiric therapy is adopted. This involves the administration of a broad-spectrum antibiotic based on the signs and symptoms presented and is initiated pending laboratory results that can take several days.

When the responsible pathogenic microorganism is already known or has been identified, definitive therapy can be started. This will usually involve the use of a narrow-spectrum antibiotic. The choice of antibiotic given will also be based on its cost. Identification is critically important as it can reduce the cost and toxicity of the antibiotic therapy and also reduce the possibility of the emergence of antimicrobial resistance. To avoid surgery, antibiotics may be given for non-complicated acute appendicitis.

IIT Roorkee research shows that the compound targets the bacteria by inhibiting the shikimate pathway, one of the most essential metabolic pathways in bacteria and provides essential aromatic amino acids for its survival. The results from high resolution crystal structure have shown that the compound binds itself in the active site of chorismate mutase, an enzyme which belongs to the shikimate pathway, thereby inhibiting the growth of the bacteria and resulting in its eventual death. The atomic resolution structural snapshot of chlorogenic acid binding with enzyme provides information, which can be used to tweak the chemical structure of chlorogenic acid to make more potent inhibitor. The compound has shown positive activity against different bacterial strains in the laboratory.

Talking about the research, Dr. Pravindra Kumar from Department of Biotechnology, IIT Roorkee said, “Antibiotics are essential component of clinical healthcare and provide a vital shield against variety of pathogenic bacteria. However, their widespread misuse and improper clinical handling leads to emergence of drug resistance among pathogenic bacteria. This has led to significant increase in number of untreatable bacterial infections and constitutes a major global clinical challenge faced by humanity. 

Despite this no new antibiotic has been discovered for last many years. The current situation necessitates the search for new class of antibiotics.” “We wanted to identify new compounds, which could aid in development of new generation antibiotics. With the study we have successfully identified and proved the antibacterial properties of chlorogenic acid. The overall structural blueprints obtained from this study can further be exploited with the goal of producing a more efficient new class of antibiotics in order to combat antibiotic resistant bacteria.”

The other scientists of research team, include Dr. Shivendra Pratap, Dr. Aditya dev, Vijay Kumar, Ravi Yadav, Manju Narwal and Shailly Tomar from IIT Roorkee. Findings from this study were published recently in the Scientific Reports in Journal of Nature publishing group in an article entitled “Structure of Chorismate Mutase-like Domain of DAHPS from Bacillus subtilis Complexed with Novel Inhibitor Reveals Conformational Plasticity of Active Site.” 2017 Jul 25;7(1):6364. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-06578-1.
Navneet Kumar Gupta is a science communicator working as a Project Officer (Edusat) in Vigyan Prasar-National institute of Science communication under the Department. of Science & Technology. Govt. Of India. He has deep interest in popular science writing for general public through Print and electronic media. Besides his twelve books, he has written more than 200 popular science articles. He has edited/authored/co-authored more than 10 books. He have been awarded six National Awards including Rajbhasha Award, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India He has had a long stint as Associate Editor, VIPNET news - a popular science magazine. You may contact him at -