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

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."

Provided by University of Edinburgh

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Scientists Find a New Toxin That May be Key to MRSA Severity

Jul 17, 2010

A research project to identify all the surface proteins of USA300—the most common community-associated strain of the methicillin-resistant form of the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)—has resulted in the identification ...

Researchers find link to severe Staph infections

Dec 23, 2008

Researchers at The University of Texas School of Public Health recently described studies that support the link between the severity of community-acquired antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA MRSA) infections and th ...

Superantigens could be behind several illnesses

Nov 29, 2010

Superantigens, the toxins produced by staphylococcus bacteria, are more complex than previously believed, reveals a team of researchers from the University of Gothenburg in an article published today in the ...

Recommended for you

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

5 hours ago

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

US orders farms to report pig virus infections

Apr 18, 2014

The U.S. government is starting a new program to help monitor and possibly control the spread of a virus that has killed millions of pigs since showing up in the country last year.

Foreigner dies of MERS in Saudi

Apr 18, 2014

A foreigner has died after she contracted MERS in the Saudi capital, the health ministry said on announced Friday, bringing the nationwide death toll to 73.

Vietnam battles fatal measles outbreak

Apr 18, 2014

Vietnam is scrambling to contain a deadly outbreak of measles that has killed more than 100 people, mostly young children, and infected thousands more this year, the government said Friday.

New clues on tissue scarring in scleroderma

Apr 18, 2014

A discovery by Northwestern Medicine scientists could lead to potential new treatments for breaking the cycle of tissue scarring in people with scleroderma.

User comments