Genetic oddity exploited to restore drugs’ power against bacteria
Even superbugs have their kryptonite.
Two types of lab-made molecules make drug-resistant bacteria susceptible to antibiotics again, researchers report March 9 in Science Translational Medicine. The discovery could provide new tools in the fight against microbes such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, which causes serious infections.
MRSA and related antibiotic-resistant bacteria can withstand a group of antibiotics called beta-lactams, which includes penicillin and methicillin. “There’s this notion in the pharmaceutical industry that all the low-lying fruits in terms of discovery of antibacterials have been identified,” says Shahriar Mobashery, a biochemist at the University of Notre Dame who was not involved with the study. “So any molecule that has the ability to resurrect beta-lactams, which are proven to be good