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Italian Soil Yields a New Antibiotic That Can Fight Drug-Resistant Bacteria

The new discovery shows promise in helping to treat the millions of Americans infected each year with antibiotic-resistant superbugs.

Structure of bacterial RNA polymerase, showing the binding sites for the new antibiotic pseudouridimycin (PUM) and the current antibacterial drug rifampin (Rif). PUM has a lower resistance rate and a smaller resistance target than Rif — just 2 to 4 positions where alterations that result in PUM-resistance (blue) vs. 27 positions where alterations result in Rif-resistance (red) — due to functional constraints on alteration of the binding site for PUM in the RNA polymerase active center. | David Degen and Richard H. Ebright, Rutgers University