Infection biologists and proteomics researchers have now identified all the proteins involved in Salmonella metabolic paths during an infection.

Dirk Bumann of Hannover Medical School led a team including Daniel Becker, Claudia Rollenhagen, Matthias Ballmaier and Thomas Meyer of the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology. They isolated Salmonella from infected mice.

Proteomics researchers Matthias Selbach and Matthias Mann from the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry then turned to highly-sensitive mass spectrometry to look at the protein mixture — and discovered hundreds of different Salmonella metabolic path proteins. The scientists compared them with special protein databanks and identified possible points of attack for antibiotics.

A comprehensive analysis of two infection models — typhoid and diarrhea — shows clearly that there are far fewer than expected possible points of attack for developing urgently needed antibiotics. It is also now obvious that increasingly ineffective antibiotics ought to be replaced by similar, but not identical, active principles. This points the way for future antibiotic research.