Tuesday, 4 June 2013

New compounds to curb Staph infection

Writing online in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, a group led by University of Wisconsin-Madison chemistry professor Helen Blackwell describes agents that effectively interfere with the "quorum sensing" behavior of Staphylococcus aureus.

The research team identified peptide-based signaling molecules that effectively outcompete the native molecules the bacterium uses to communicate and activate the genes that cause disease.

Bacteria use quorum sensing to assess their population density and coordinate certain behaviors. They do so through the use of pheromone-like chemicals, which bind to receptors either in the bacterial cell or on its surface and tell it if there are enough companion bacteria around to switch on genes that perform certain functions. In the case of Staphylococcus aureus, quorum sensing activates toxin production, manifesting disease in the host.

Interfering with bacterial quorum sensing to stymie disease is considered a promising new antibiotic strategy.

For further details, refer to the following paper:

Yftah Tal-Gan, Danielle M. Stacy, Mary K. Foegen, David W. Koenig, Helen E. Blackwell. Highly Potent Inhibitors of Quorum Sensing in Staphylococcus aureus Revealed Through a Systematic Synthetic Study of the Group-III Autoinducing Peptide. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2013

Posted by Tim Sandle