Researchers have identified a molecule that disrupts RNA degradation in gram-positive bacteria such as the deadly MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and the microbe that causes meningitis, according to linkurl:research; published today in PLoS Pathogens.Treatment with this molecule leads to the accumulation of unneeded proteins that clutters the cytoplasm and ultimately results in cell death, suggesting this unexploited pathway may be used to create powerful antibiotics.
Scanning electron micrograph of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
Image: Wikimedia commons, CDC/ Janice Carr/ Deepak Mandhalapu, M.H.S.
"I do think it's a very interesting idea and a very interesting article," said linkurl:June Scott,; a microbiologist at the Emory University School of Medicine, who was not involved in the research.When developing antibiotics, researchers seek to disrupt the action of essential proteins. They have developed drugs that interrupt a cell's ability to transcribe RNA, such as rifampicin for tuberculosis treatment, or to translate RNAs into proteins,...
Staphylococcus aureusStaphS. aureusrnpAS. aureusS. aureusOlson, P.D., et al. "Small molecule inhibitors of Staphylococcus aureus RnpA alter cellular mRNA turnover, exhibit antimicrobial activity, and attenuate pathogenesis." PLoS Pathogens, doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1001287

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?