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:6/14/2017)...  IBM (NYSE: IBM ) is introducing several innovative ... to developing collaboration between startups and global businesses, taking place ... the event, nine startups will showcase the solutions they have ... France is one ... a 30 percent increase in the number of startups created ...
(Date:5/16/2017)... May 16, 2017   Bridge Patient Portal ... and MD EMR Systems , an electronic ... for GE, have established a partnership to build ... and the GE Centricity™ products, including Centricity Practice ... These new integrations will allow healthcare ...
(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 ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... Proscia Inc ., ... a Webinar titled, “Pathology is going digital. Is your lab ready?” with Dr. ... best practices and how Proscia improves lab economics and realizes an increase in ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... Disappearing forests and increased emissions are the ... million people each year. Especially those living in larger cities are affected by air ... one of the most pollution-affected countries globally - decided to take action. , “I ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 10, 2017 , ... San Diego-based ... of its corporate rebranding initiative announced today. The bold new look is part ... as the company moves into a significant growth period. , It will also expand ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... Dr. Bob Harman, founder and CEO of ... Club. The event entitled “Stem Cells and Their Regenerative Powers,” was ... Dr. Harman, DVM, MPVM was joined by two human doctors: Peter B. Hanson, M.D., ...
Breaking Biology Technology: