A New Potential Method To Treat Superbug Infections

Superbug MRSA Bacteria Concept

MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is a type of bacteria that is resistant to several antibiotics commonly used to treat staph infections. This makes MRSA infections more difficult to treat and can result in serious health consequences.

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.”

Exposure of MRSA to Guanosine Enhances MRSA Killing by Four Different Penicillin Type Antibiotics

The photographs show MRSA growing on the surfaces of two agar plates, one without guanosine (left) and one with guanosine (right) onto which disks soaked with antibiotics have been applied. The zones of clearing around the antibiotic disks are indicative of MRSA killing. Credit: University of Galway

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.

Aaron Nolan and Merve S Zeden

Aaron Nolan, a Ph.D. student at the University of Galway and Dr. Merve S Zeden from the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, University of Galway. Credit: University of Galway

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.
DOI: 10.1128/mbio.02478-22

The study was funded by the Health Research Board, Science Foundation Ireland, and the Irish Research Council.


1 Comment on "A New Potential Method To Treat Superbug Infections"

  1. Here’s an even simpler way… an ancient way that we KNOW works…
    Plate the surgical tools in silver.
    There, now you know.

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