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Sunday, May 15, 2011

London : MRC scientists identify genes that make MRSA difficult to beat

Article from Medical Research Council, excerpt :

" Research at the Medical Research Council (MRC) has highlighted genes in the bacterium Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) that may help the superbug to survive after it has been targeted by antibacterial agents. This discovery could inform the development of future drugs to overcome MRSA’s defence systems.

The research team, including scientists at the MRC Human Genetics Unit in Edinburgh and the Universities of St Andrews, Dundee and London, developed a gene map to improve understanding of how MRSA escapes being killed by antimicrobials. For the first time, they were able to map relationships between 95 per cent of MRSA genes, and proposed possible new roles for 22 genes that help MRSA cause disease. One particular gene, ftsH, was singled out as a possible Achilles’ heel in MRSA and could potentially be a focus for new drug development.

As part of the study, researchers examined an antimicrobial agent called Ranalexin, which is derived from the skin of a bullfrog and kills MRSA. Computer analysis, coupled with laboratory tests on MRSA, showed that Ranalexin works by weakening both the bacterial cell wall and membrane. This information may help the development of new combination therapies."

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