Giving bacteria the old one-two…three-four

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Science  12 Sep 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6202, pp. 1307-1308
DOI: 10.1126/science.345.6202.1307-b

Is it possible to streamline the complex task of finding new drugs to fight resistant bacteria and other disease targets? Most biological processes are controlled by complicated regulatory networks, so combinations of two or more drugs are likely to be more effective than any single agent. Finding combinations that work means first screening enormous numbers of possibilities. Cheng et al. examined mixtures of genetic elements in millions of different combinations. Those combinations with the desired effect in a biological test could be identified afterward by highthroughput sequencing capable of detecting associated DNA “barcode” identifier sequences. Results are promising and revealed combinations of transcription factors that enhanced lethal effects of an antibiotic by a millionfold.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 10.1073/pnas.1400093111 (2014).

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