National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientists have identified a promising lead for developing a new type of drug to treat infection caused by Staphylococcus aureus, a bacterium that frequently resists traditional antibiotics. The researchers discovered a system used by S. aureus to transport toxins that are thought to contribute to severe staph infections. These toxins—called phenol-soluble modulins (PSMs)—have gained much attention in recent years, but their multitude and diversity have hindered efforts to target them for drug development.
Expanding on work that first described S. aureus PSMs in 2007, scientists at the NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases found that the transport system, which they call Pmt, is common to all S. aureus PSMs and critical for bacterial proliferation and disease development in a mouse model. Their experiments suggest that a drug interfering with Pmt's function could not only prevent production of the PSM toxins, but also directly lead to bacterial death.
Although their study focused on S. aureus, the scientists suspect that Pmt performs the same role in other staphylococci, such as S. epidermidis, the leading cause of hospital-associated infections involving indwelling medical devices such as catheters, pacemakers and prosthetics. They plan to continue their studies to improve the understanding of how PSMs function and to learn how to interfere with the Pmt transport system to block disease.
S Chatterjee et al. Essential Staphylococcus aureus toxin export system. Nature MedicineDOI: 10.1038/nm3047 (2013).
R Wang et al. Identification of novel cytolytic peptides as key virulence determinants of community-associated MRSA. Nature Medicine DOI: 10.1038/nm1656 (2007).
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: http://www.niaid.nih.gov
This press release was posted to serve as a topic for discussion. Please comment below. We try our best to only post press releases that are associated with peer reviewed scientific literature. Critical discussions of the research are appreciated. If you need help finding a link to the original article, please contact us on twitter or via e-mail.
Once-endangered gray seal population is rebounding; Cape Cod fishermen say there are now too many -- and they're taking all the fish
That strong, sturdy handshake your grandpa taught you isn't the cleanest way to greet someone, scientists say. So should doctors and nurses in hospitals start bumping fists?
The Natural Trap Cave in Wyoming may hold specimens of DNA from animals who roamed thousands of years ago. Julie Meachem, a paleontologist leading the expedition into the cave, speaks with Audie Cornish about the secrets she hopes to find.
Scientists are trying to raise prized bluefin tuna completely in captivity. An experiment at a Baltimore college is the first successful attempt in North America.
It’s five o’clock, and your dog is excitedly wagging her tail and nuzzling against you. Your furry friend is hungry and seems to know that this is the hour you usually feed her. But was this performance a simple reaction to a rumbling in Ginger’s tummy or are canines actually able to somehow read the clock?
Birds' eggs show adaptations in pigment concentration and thickness to allow the right amount of sun for embryos, scientists say.
Experiments with a large cannon have shown that fossilised algae could have travelled to the moon intact, providing an exciting window into Earth's past
A newly discovered variant of a protein that helps protect us against cancer may trigger cancer and promote its spread around the body
A special retelling of The Tempest shows how people with autism may be able to tap into the rhythmic heart of Shakespeare's plays
Babies in the womb show evidence of learning by their 34th week, three weeks earlier than previously thought, new research has found.