New membrane-busting compounds effective at fighting MRSA

At least 2 million people in the United States become infected with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
By Amy Wallace  |  March 15, 2017 at 3:36 PM
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March 15 (UPI) -- New research by the American Chemical Society has identified a new class of compounds that may be effective at treating methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, skin infections in mice with no signs of acute toxicity.

Nearly 23,000 people die of MRSA infections each year in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

MRSA infections have proven challenging for physicians because even antibiotics of last resort are not effective against the bacteria.

Researchers have discovered using antimicrobial peptides and lipopeptides can destroy bacterial membranes, but turning the microbes into clinical products has not been successful.

To combat that hurdle, researchers developed a new class of membrane-busting compounds called lysine-conjugated aliphatic norspermidine analogues, or LANAs, that are effective at killing certain bacteria and the Ebola virus in laboratory tests.

The team of researchers, led by Mohini Mohan Konal and Jayanta Haldar of the Jawaharlal Nehru Center for Advanced Scientific Research in India, found that LANAs were effective against four different MRSA strains when tested with mice.

The compounds eliminated MRSA skin infections in mice and, after 20 attempts, the MRSA was not able to develop resistance to the LANAs.

The study was published in Bioconjugate Chemistry.

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