Mrsa | Scientists Find Genes To Beat MRSA Defence System

Efforts to develop better and stronger treatments against diseases continue in Europe, with particular emphasis being placed on fighting human pathogens and strains resistant to existing treatments. Scientists in the United Kingdom have identified genes in the bacterium Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) that could help the superbug survive despite being hit by antibacterial agents. Their discovery, presented in the journal BMC Systems Biology, could lead to new drugs capable of defeating the MRSA’s defence systems.

In order to better understand how MRSA can fight off antimicrobials and survive, the researchers from the Medical Research Council (MRC) Human Genetics Unit, the University of Dundee, the University of St Andrews and St George’s University of London in the United Kingdom developed a gene map and discovered ties between 95 % of MRSA genes. According to the team, they believe that 22 genes that assist MRSA in causing disease could be ‘used’ to beat MRSA at its own game. For instance, they identified the gene ftsH as a potential weak point for MRSA.

Ranalexin, an antimicrobial agent , was evaluated by the team for the study. Ranalexin kills MRSA. The team performed laboratory tests and computer analysis on MRSA to discover that Ranalexin weakens the bacterial cell wall and membrane. This new information could lead to the development of combination therapies, they say.

In the United Kingdom alone, MRSA infection contributed to the deaths of 781 people in 2009, representing nearly a third of deaths involving Staphylococcus aureaus compared with 51 deaths in 1993. It should be noted, however, that the proportion of MRSA infections in 2009 was below the 82 % peak recorded in 2008.

Experts say hospitals are the

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