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:11/22/2016)... PUNE, India , November 22, 2016 According ... (Single-Factor: (Fingerprint, IRIS, Palm Print, Face, Vein, Signature, Voice), Multi-Factor), Component (Hardware ... to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected to grow from ... at a CAGR of 16.79% between 2016 and 2022. ... ...
(Date:11/17/2016)... 17, 2016  AIC announces that it has just released a new white paper ... high-performance scale-out plus high speed data transfer storage solutions. Photo - ... ... ... Setting up a high performance computing or HPC ...
(Date:11/14/2016)... , Nov. 14, 2016  Based on ... market, Frost & Sullivan recognizes FST Biometrics ... Award for Visionary Innovation Leadership. FST Biometrics ... biometric identification market by pioneering In Motion ... for instant, seamless, and non-invasive verification. This ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/6/2016)... - SQI Diagnostics Inc. ("SQI" or the "Company") (TSX-V: SQD; OTCQX: SQIDF), today ... fiscal year ended September 30, 2016. ... , , SQI ... company that develops and commercializes proprietary technologies and products for advanced ... revenues of $1.4 million more than tripling prior years revenue. ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... ... December 06, 2016 , ... ... platforms, announced today that the company has engaged in a collaborative research partnership ... (MRDA) with the CSU Office of the Vice President for Research. This agreement ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... , Dec. 6, 2016  SRI International ... $150 million from the National Institutes of Health,s ... the Division of AIDS (NIAID-DAIDS) to support the ... non-vaccine pre-exposure (PreP) agents. Under the seven-year contract, ... product development services for candidate HIV-prevention products that ...
(Date:12/5/2016)... Atlanta, Georgia (PRWEB) , ... December 05, 2016 ... ... hydrophobic, lignin-coated nanocellulose, including both cellulose nanocrystals and cellulose nanofibrils. The composition ... nanocellulose. There are also claims directed to combination with polymers, carbon fibers, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: