October 23, 2012
Antibiotic Effectiveness Against MRSA Restored
Researchers from North Carolina State University have increased the potency of a compound that reactivates antibiotics against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), an antibiotic-resistant form of Staphylococcus that is notoriously difficult to treat. Their improved compound removes the bacteria´s antibiotic resistance and allows the antibiotic to once again become effective at normal dosage levels.
NC State chemist Christian Melander had previously proven the effectiveness of a 2-aminoimidazole compound in reactivating antibiotics against resistant bacterial strains. However, the original compound was not potent enough. In his latest work, described in a paper appearing in Angewandte Chemie, Melander, research assistant professor Roberta Worthington and graduate student Tyler Harris have solved the potency issue, bringing them one step closer to in vivo testing.
The compound works by short-circuiting the bacteria´s ability to mount a defense against the antibiotic. When antibiotics interact with bacteria, receptors on the surface of the bacteria identify the antibiotic as a threat and the bacteria can then choose what to do to survive. MRSA either creates a biofilm or makes genetic changes that prevent the antibiotic from disrupting its cell structure. According to Melander, “We believe that our compound renders the bacteria unable to recognize the antibiotic as a threat, essentially stopping the defensive process before it can begin.”
The work was funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Defense, Defense Medical Research and Development Program.
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