Navigation Links
University of Wisconsin chemists find new compounds to curb staph infection
Date:5/23/2013

MADISON, Wis. In an age when microbial pathogens are growing increasingly resistant to the conventional antibiotics used to tamp down infection, a team of Wisconsin scientists has synthesized a potent new class of compounds capable of curbing the bacteria that cause staph infections.

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, a bacterium at the root of a host of human infections ranging from acne to life-threatening conditions such as pneumonia, toxic shock syndrome and sepsis.

"It's a whole new world for us," says Blackwell, whose group 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, says Blackwell. Staph, she adds, is an excellent target as the bacterium is not only a prevalent pathogen, but some strains, notably methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA, have developed resistance to commonly used antibiotics such as penicillin and its derivatives.

The new compounds synthesized by Blackwell and her colleagues are peptides that work at very low concentrations by blocking the chemical receptors the bacterium uses to regulate quorum sensing. The new agents devised by Blackwell and her group work on the four subtypes of staph, all of which use different quorum sensing signals and are found in different infection types.

"We had not worked much in this area because the (signaling molecules) are somewhat challenging to synthesize," explains Blackwell. "We now have developed methods to make these molecules and analogs much more efficiently, which helped fuel this new study."

For now, the compounds devised by the Wisconsin team will have their greatest impact in the lab as research probes to further study the role of quorum sensing in Staphylococcus aureus. In addition, the gritty details of how these synthetic agents work in the cell need to be determined in order to optimize their potential use in both the lab and clinic. Such studies are ongoing.

"The impact of these new peptides could be significant because staph is an important and increasingly scary pathogen. There is plenty of scope," notes Blackwell.


'/>"/>

Contact: Helen Blackwell
blackwell@chem.wisc.edu
608-262-1503
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. University of Maryland Medical Center launches genetic-testing program for cardiac patients
2. University of Maryland School of Medicine researchers find potential novel treatment for influenza
3. University of Houston engineering professor awarded grant to study melanoma treatment
4. Saint Louis University, University of Toronto biologists help decode turtle genome
5. Wayne State University startup, Advaita, to participate in new Michigan I-Corps program
6. Indiana University associate professor earns APSs Henry Pickering Bowditch Award
7. University of Southern California scientists reveal natural process that blocks viruses
8. University of Houston engineering researchers theories to be tested in space
9. University of Tennessee professors research shows Gulf of Mexico resilient after spill
10. Mercyhurst Universitys new DNA sequencer to accelerate scientific research in region
11. Student named universitys first Lawrence scholar, researching at national laboratory
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/19/2017)... , April 19, 2017 ... its vendor landscape is marked by the presence of ... is however held by five major players - 3M ... these companies accounted for nearly 61% of the global ... leading companies in the global military biometrics market boast ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... GARDENS, Fla. , April 11, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... management and secure authentication solutions, today announced that ... by Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) to ... IARPA,s Thor program. "Innovation has been ... and IARPA,s Thor program will allow us to ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... , April 5, 2017  The Allen Institute for ... Cell Explorer: a one-of-a-kind portal and dynamic digital window ... imaging data, the first application of deep learning to ... stem cell lines and a growing suite of powerful ... for these and future publicly available resources created and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/9/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 09, 2017 , ... At its ... Dr. Christopher Stubbs, a professor in Harvard University’s Departments of Physics and Astronomy, has ... was a member of the winning team for the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... October 09, 2017 , ... ... 5, 2017, in the medical journal, Epilepsia, Brain Sentinel’s SPEAC® System which ... video EEG, in detecting generalized tonic-clonic seizures (GTCS) using surface electromyography (sEMG). ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... ... October 06, 2017 , ... Phase ... metagenome deconvolution product, featuring the first commercially available Hi-C kit. Researchers can ... Hi-C metagenome deconvolution using their own facilities, supplementing the company’s full-service ProxiMeta ...
(Date:10/6/2017)... ... 2017 , ... The HealthTech Venture Network (HTVN) is proud ... annual Conference where founders, investors, innovative practitioners and collaborators are invited to a ... early stage digital health and med tech companies. , This day-long event will ...
Breaking Biology Technology: