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Staph receptor as drug target

11:50am, November 13, 2004

From Washington, D.C., at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy

A molecule that sits on the surface of Staphylococcus aureus, an infectious microbe that's resistant to many antibiotics, might offer a weak spot in the bacterium's defenses, early research suggests. Certain peptides secreted by the bacteria themselves bind to a receptor called AgrC and trigger the bacteria to make toxins. Other peptides shut down the process. Because many bacteria are doing this simultaneously in close quarters, the process becomes a cell-to-cell communication system that enables the cells to coordinate their actions, says Richard P. Novick of the New York University School of Medicine, who presented the findings.

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