Potential new weapon against MRSA discovered

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Researchers have discovered a way to increase the potency of antibiotics against deadly bacterial diseases that have afflicted seniors especially hard. The key is something called inhibitor compounds, which have been developed by structural biologists and chemists.

The discovery builds on the previous work of University of California-Irvine's Thomas Poulos, Ph.D., and Northwestern University's Richard Silverman, Ph.D., who created the compounds. The compound combinations could mute neurodegenerative diseases by blocking overproduction of cell-killing nitric oxide within neurons.

The researchers paired the inhibitor compounds with currently used antibiotics to see if they could increase the antibiotics' effectiveness.

“We found that NOS inhibitors were extremely successful at inhibiting neurodegeneration in an animal model, and if they could be successful combatting other diseases, we wanted to identify that as quickly as possible to help other people,” Poulos said in a release.

The researchers tested their compounds on Bacillus subtilis, a nonpathogenic bacteria very similar to Staphylococcus aureus (known as MRSA). The bacteria treated with an antibiotic and NOS inhibitors were killed more efficiently than those treated with just an antibiotic.

“Now that we know which region of the NOS to target, we should to be able to develop compounds that selectively bind to bacterial NOS,” said Poulos.

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