New study shows how DNA components can enhance penicillin-type antibiotics to combat MRSA.
Scientists at the University of Galway have uncovered a way to enhance the effectiveness of penicillin-type antibiotics against MRSA, a dangerous superbug. Their findings have the potential to improve MRSA treatment options as penicillin-type antibiotics are currently ineffective on their own.
The study, led by the University of Galway’s Professor James P O’Gara and Dr. Merve S Zeden, was recently published in the journal mBio.
Professor of Microbiology James O’Gara said: “This discovery is important because it has revealed a potentially new way to treat MRSA infections with penicillin-type drugs, which remain the safest and most effective antibiotics.”
The antimicrobial resistance (AMR) crisis is one of the greatest threats to human health with superbugs like MRSA placing a significant burden on global healthcare resources.
The microbiology research team at the University of Galway showed that MRSA could be much more efficiently killed by penicillin-type antibiotics when combined with purines, which are the building blocks for DNA.
Dr. Zeden said: “Purine nucleosides, Adenosine, Xanthosine, and Guanosine are sugar versions of the building blocks of DNA, and our work showed that they interfere with signaling systems in the bacterial cell which are required for antibiotic resistance.”
The discussion noted the drugs derived from purines are already used to treat some viral infections and cancers.
Aaron Nolan is a Ph.D. student at the University of Galway and was the co-first author on the paper. He said: “Finding new ways to re-sensitize superbugs to currently licensed antibiotics is a crucial part of efforts to tackle the AMR crisis. Our research implicated the potential of purine nucleosides in re-sensitizing MRSA to penicillin-type antibiotics.”
Reference: “Purine Nucleosides Interfere with c-di-AMP Levels and Act as Adjuvants To Re-Sensitize MRSA To β-Lactam Antibiotics” by Aaron C. Nolan, Merve S. Zeden, Igor Kviatkovski, Christopher Campbell, Lucy Urwin, Rebecca M. Corrigan, Angelika Gründling and James P. O’Gara, 12 December 2022, mBio.
The study was funded by the Health Research Board, Science Foundation Ireland, and the Irish Research Council.