Ciprofloxacin could help in herbicide development

The enzyme DNA gyrase can be targeted by the Ciprofloxacin after work with the model plant Arabidopsis thailana. | File photo

Ciprofloxacin, a commonly used antibiotic, has been shown to also kill plants by blocking the DNA copying machinery of the plants, according to plant biologists at the University of Western Australia (UWA). 

The Journal of Biological Chemistry published the research, a collaboration between UWA graduate research assistant Julie Leroux; Dr. Joshua Mylne, a future fellow in UWA’s School of Chemistry and Biochemistry; and professor Tony Maxwell from the John Innes Centre in the U.K.

“This could be the starting point for making a completely new herbicide," Myline said. "The DNA copying machinery in plants and microbes have similarities, but also differences that could be exploited. The machinery that ciprofloxacin affects is not currently targeted by known herbicides, making this an untried mode of action to focus on.”

The researchers discovered that the enzyme DNA gyrase can be targeted by the Ciprofloxacin after work with the model plant Arabidopsis thailana. This discovery could help future researchers and developers to create a new herbicide with ciprofloxacin.

“We envision changing ciprofloxacin in ways that will stop it from being an antibiotic, while improving its suitability as a herbicide,” Mylne said.

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