Bacteria like ‘hospital germs’ Staphylococcus aureus They owe their danger to a double defense: on the one hand, they easily develop resistance to common antibiotics, on the other hand, they hide from the immune system. A research group led by Jennifer Payne of Monash University in Australia has now tested a method that runs counter to both defense strategies at the same time. It fights the pathogen like a conventional antibiotic and at the same time attracts neutrophils. These phagocytes can in turn attack the bacteria.
in the journal Nature Communications The group explains the details of its approach. They used the antibiotic vancomycin as a basis. It attaches itself to cell membranes Staphylococcus aureus in a. To attract immune cells, they attached so-called modulating peptides, or fPeps for short, to the molecule vancomycin, which has long been known to show neutrophils the path to the pathogen.
Normally, phagocytes rely on fPeps, which are released by the bacteria themselves. Immune cells always swim in the direction in which the concentration of short chains of amino acids increases. The synthesized molecule now mimics this process and thus at least partially removes the camouflage with which it is itself Staphylococcus aureus hidden from the immune system.
In tests conducted in the laboratory and on mice, the improved antibiotic has proven to be a dangerous multi-resistant antibiotic Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is combated better than vancomycin alone — about twice as much at a dose reduced by a fifth, the researchers wrote in their study. But they still see their experiences as essential research. Therefore, immediate use for human patients cannot be expected. In order for the hybrid antibiotic to have the desired effect, Payne’s group had to carefully optimize the type, length, and coupling point of the fPep molecule. The process is not over yet and must continue before the active ingredient is ready for use.
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