Researchers uncover reasons behind MRSA drug resistance

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Streptococcus pneumoniae and MRSA, two drug resistant strains of bacteria, may soon meet their match at the hands of an old foe: penicillin.

New research has revealed how Streptococcus pneumoniae has become resistant to penicillin. By targeting a protein called MurM, which acts as an enzyme that reinforces the walls of bacterial cells against penicillin, researchers found ways to disrupt the bacterium's resistance to antibiotics.

Streptococcus pneumoniae is responsible for up to 70,000 deaths in the U.S. elderly population every year. The MRSA super bug (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) kills nearly 20,000 people a year in hospitals and nursing homes nationwide.

The research is part of a joint effort between the University of Warwick, The Rockefeller University in New York and the Université Laval, Ste-Foy in Quebec. More information about the research and the network of research facilities can be found at http://www.warwick.ac.uk/go/bacwan.