Wow. Scientists in Germany have identified new fungus-killing compounds that are so great that they named these peptides after Keanu Reeves. Yes, these peptides are now called “keanumicins” after the actor who starred in the bill and ted movies, the Headquarters movies, the John Wick films, The substitutions, Speed, and many other hits. A recent publication in Journal of the American Chemical Society detailed how a team of researchers at the Leibniz Institute for Research in Natural Products and Infection Biology in Jena, Germany isolated, characterized, and tested AC keanumycins. And apparently, the efficient killing potential of these peptides was as much like John Wick in the eyes of the Leibniz Institute team as they were.
It certainly wasn’t the first time something biological had been named after a celebrity. There are already plenty of beetles – meaning insects, not shaggy-haired musicians – that bear celebrity names like Agaporomorphus colberti named after late night talk show host Stephen Colbert, agra catbellae named after actress Catherine Bell, agra katewinsletae named after actress Kate Winslet, and agra liv named after actress Liv Tyler. Movie star and martial artist Jackie Chan had two organisms named after him, a lizard Cnemaspis jackieii and a wasp Acrotaphus jackiechani, which makes you wonder what would happen if the lizard met the wasp. There is also a spider called Aptostichus angelina jolieae named after actress Angelina Jolie. And try to guess where the parasitic wasp Conobregma bradpitti has your name. In fact, there are so many bugs named after celebrities that you could probably recreate several movie scenes with just bugs.
But instead of naming a bug after Reeves, the Leibniz Institute team named something of a bug after Reeves, a different kind of bug, an infectious bacterial bug. They found AC keanumicins in Pseudomonas bacteria. These bacteria use these peptides to protect themselves against amoebas because nobody wants to be cornered in a dark alley by a bunch of amoebas. you may have heard Pseudomonas because they are spread throughout the environment around them, including water and soil. There are over 190 different species of Pseudomonas, many of which can cause various types of infections in humans. But like politicians, Pseudomonas bacteria are not necessarily bad all the time. They can come in handy at times. In recent decades, farmers have used certain types of Pseudomonas for the practice of biocontrol. Applying these bacteria to seeds or soil can help prevent certain microbes from growing and destroying crops.
Tests by the Leibniz Institute team found that ceanumycins had strong antimycotic activity against Botrytis cinerea even at relatively low concentrations. Antimycotic may sound a bit like antipsychotic, but the two terms mean two very different things. If someone is fungal, you might want to give them a bath, because mycotic means “of, relating to, or caused by a fungus,” according to Dictionary.com. On the other hand, a bath might not work as well with someone who is psychotic. Therefore, antimycotic activity is the ability of a compound to inactivate or kill the fungus. The publication in Journal of the American Chemical Society described how the Leibniz Institute team applied the Pseudomonas cultures for hydrangea macrophylla leaves and saw how this liquid alone could inhibit the growth of Botrytis cinerea.
Botrytis cinerea it’s Agent Smith, Iosef Tarasov and Howard Payne combined of plant pathogens. It’s a really bad fungus that isn’t much fun. This species of fungus can fly and land on different plants. It is known to infect over 200 different plant species. You can fill various salads and greenhouses with the different types of plants that Botrytis cinerea can infect and destroy. When the fungus infects a plant, it typically creates gray thread-like structures that cover the surface of the plant. It is because Botrytis cinerea infections have earned the nickname “gray mold”. The fungus can secrete various chemicals which, in turn, weaken the plant’s defenses and destroy the plant’s cells. each year Botrytis cinerea It costs the world an estimated $10 billion to $100 billion in factory losses. Finding this fungus in your crops or in your plant collection can be a bit like finding a bomb on a bus. It can be quite disastrous as this fungus is resistant to many different pesticides and chemicals.
This is just one growing reason why identifying keanumicins is potentially a huge step forward. Botrytis cinerea it usually isn’t a direct threat to your health unless you have asthma or some other respiratory problem that could be exacerbated by the presence of the fungus in the air. But there are other types of fungi that can cause disease in humans. An example is Candida albicans. This fungus is responsible for vaginal yeast infections, diaper rash and oral thrush, yet another reason why it’s a bad idea to swallow used diapers.. The Leibniz Institute team performed a genome microarray analysis that suggested that some form of ceanumycin A may eventually be effective against candida albicans. Thus, ceanumycins may someday lead to a variety of different antimycotic agents.
It’s unclear if and when this discovery could lead to a red pill, blue pill or any other color pill situation for humans. One thing for sure. If this leads to a drug that can help fight fungal spores, the drug will not be called Neosporin. That name has already been chosen.