Scientists battle against superbugs by targeting toxin released by virtually all strains of MRSA

October 13, 2011

Targeting a toxin released by virtually all strains of MRSA could help scientists develop new drugs that can fight the superbug, research suggests.

A study led by the University of Edinburgh has discovered the toxin -- SElX -- which leads the body's immune system to go into overdrive and damage healthy cells.

The toxin SElX is made by 95 per cent of , including MRSA strains linked with hospital-acquired infections.

When it is released it triggers an over multiplication of , which can lead to , toxic shock and potentially fatal .

The study, published in the journal , will help research to find drugs that could target SElX and prevent damage to healthy cells.

The research, carried out by the Universities of Edinburgh, Iowa and Mississippi State, looked at a strain of MRSA known as USA300 that can cause severe infections in otherwise healthy individuals.

MRSA strains are known to produce different types of toxins but scientists found that SElX is made by virtually all strains of the superbug.

It belongs to a family of toxins known as , which can invoke an extreme immune response.

Dr Ross Fitzgerald, from The Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh, said: "If we can find ways to target this toxin, we can stop it from triggering an over-reaction of the body's immune system and prevent severe infections"

The research was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the National Institutes of Health, USA, the US Department of Agriculture and Pfizer Animal Health.

Gill Wilson, of The Roslin Institute and first author on the paper, said: "MRSA continues to be a global problem. This research could help us find a new way to target the infection."

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Kidney stone? Try a roller coaster ride

September 27, 2016

(HealthDay)—Anyone who's suffered a kidney stone just wants the urinary obstruction gone. Now, preliminary research suggests relief might even be fun: a roller coaster ride.

The 'love hormone' may quiet tinnitus

September 23, 2016

(HealthDay)—People suffering from chronic ringing in the ears—called tinnitus—may find some relief by spraying the hormone oxytocin in their nose, a small initial study by Brazilian researchers suggests.

Bile acid uptake inhibitor prevents NASH / fatty liver in mice

September 21, 2016

Drugs that interfere with bile acid recycling can prevent several aspects of NASH (nonalcoholic steatohepatitis) in mice fed a high-fat diet, scientists from Emory University School of Medicine and Children's Healthcare of ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.