Hyderabad: The structure and synthesis of the bacterial cell wall is fundamental to the growth and division of cells of bacteria which help in understanding the role of antibiotics. A ground-breaking study that provides a unique insight into the process has won Dr Manjula Reddy, CCMB chief scientist the $1,00,000 Infosys Prize for Life Sciences.
The award contains a gold medal, a citation and $1,00,000 (Rs 70.95 lakh).
Bacteria can grow and divide once every 20 minutes in a resource-rich environment. To achieve this, they have to rapidly build their cell walls to make two cells from one.
For a long time, scientists believed that the cell wall needs to be broken in a controlled manner to allow a new cell wall to be built. Knowledge of what makes this possible has remained elusive.
Dr Reddy’s team became the first one to identify the enzymes that carry out controlled cleavage of the cell walls. Her work led to an understanding of the mechanisms that regulate this fundamental step.
Dr Reddy’s work has opened up an avenue for targeting the initial steps of cell wall synthesis, the citation said....