Staphylococcus aureus is a bacterium commonly found in people’s noses and on their skin. Usually living harmlessly with us (commensal), this organism can cause infections if it enters the body by a cut in the skin, and has rapidly developed resistance to antibiotics. The development of antibacterial enzymes could be an alternative approach to targeting antibiotic-resistant S. aureus. Studies have looked into cloning S. aureus’ own enzymes – autolysins – used in building the cell wall, and genetically engineering them to kill S. aureus. Another option are human lysozymes – antibacterial proteins that protects us from invading microorganisms. Some bacteria (black clusters in cells pictured) safeguard themselves by releasing proteins that bind to lysozymes, inactivating them. By redesigning lysozymes to deceive these proteins, lysozymes can target and kill (stained fluorescent yellow/orange) bacterial pathogens. These new, hopeful antibacterial drug possibilities pave the way for more therapeutic and effective strategies to tackle bacterial resistance.
Written by Katie Panteli
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