Antibiotics can be used to fight off viruses and now antibiotic resistant infections. A group of researchers at the University of Notre Dame discovered a new class of antibiotics that can treat antibiotic resistant infections such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA. The group was led by Shahriar Mobashery and Mayland Chang. The study was published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society under the title Discovery of a New Class of Non-beta-lactam Inhibitors of Penicillin-Binding Proteins with Gram-Positive Antibacterial Activity.
The class, called Oxadiazoles, was discovered using a silico screening and showed great promise when it was used to treat methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in mouse models of the infection. After the researchers tested 1.2 million compounds, they discovered that the oxadiazoles inhibited PB2a, a protein that binds to penicillin, and the biosynthesis of the cell wall that allows MRSA to be resistant to other medications.
The oxadiazoles that were discovered at Notre Dame was also effective if they are taken orally, which is important because currently there is one medication that can be taken by mouth that is designed to treat MRSA. Greg Crawford, the dean of the College of Science at the University of Notre Dame, said that Mobashery and Chang’s discovery of a new class of compounds that fight drug resistant bacteria such as MRSA could save thousands of lives all over the world. Crawford also said the college is grateful for their persistence and leadership in combating drug resistance. Chang said that Professor Mobashery has been working on finding the mechanism that causes MRSA to be resistant for a while. Chang continues by saying that as they continue to understand the mechanisms they can create solutions to create compounds that battle MRSA.
The study was written by the following co-authors: Takao Yamaguchi, Peter O’Daniel, Hualiang Pi, Zhihong Peng, Derong Ding, Sebastian Testero, Edward Spink, Marc Boudreau, Erika Leemans, William Wolter, Valerie Schroeder, Wei Song, Leticia Llarrull, Malika Kumarasiri, Elena Lastochkin, Mana Espahbodi, Nuno Antunes, Mark Suckow, Katerina Lichtenwalter, Chang, Mobashery and Sergei Vakulenko. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is a Staph infection that is not problematic unless it enters a person’s body through a wound. If it enters the wound, the infection can multiply and become abscessed. If the infection is abscessed, it would need to be drained surgically and treated with antibiotics. This can make the infection difficult to treat because MRSA has built up immunities to certain antibiotics.
MRSA might be getting another antibiotic after researchers at the University of Notre Dame discovered a new class of antibiotics called oxadiazoles. Oxadiazoles have been found to treat antibiotic resistant infections after the group tested it on models of mice that had MRSA. The researchers tested 1.2 million compounds and found that the oxadiazoles stopped PB2a as well as the biosynthesis of the cell wall that lets MRSA resist other drugs. MRSA has become a global health problem since the 1960s because it is resistant to antibiotics. In the United States, 278,000 people are hospitalized and infections that are caused by MRSA take the lives of 19,000 people a year. Currently, there are only three drugs that treat MRSA and resistance to those drugs already exist. Dr. Asad Ansari, who treats pediatric infectious diseases, said that the new class of antibiotics is a different way to treat MRSA. Ansari continues by saying that it can be taken orally, which is helpful and can make it possible for most people to be treated as an outpatient.
By Jordan Bonte