Research + Discoveries

Franz Group Develops a Strategy to Recruit Copper to Kill Pathogens

Members of the Franz lab joined forces with collaborators in the Duke University Medical School to show that a small molecule enhances antifungal activity by taking advantage of chemical processes induced by the immune system.  The molecule, nicknamed QBP, transforms from a non-toxic compound to a lethal agent upon interacting with reactive oxygen species and copper, both of which are released by activated immune cells. The toxic agent overrides the copper detoxification machinery in microbial pathogens in a way that minimizes damage to uninfected host cells. These findings support the idea of developing antimicrobial agents based on understanding copper biology.  

More details may be found in Festa, Richard A.; Helsel, Marian E.; Franz, Katherine J.; Thiele, Dennis J., Exploiting Innate Immune Cell Activation of a Copper-Dependent Antimicrobial Agent during Infection. Chemistry & Biology (2014).

See news article here: Molecule Enhances Copper’s Lethal Punch Against Microbes