Geneva (awp / ats) – Better understand how Staphylococcus aureus works. It is to this work that a team of researchers from the University of Geneva (Unige) got down to work, resulting in a fortuitous discovery that could make it possible to fight more effectively against this bacteria resistant to antibiotics.
Staphylococci aureus have the characteristic of being able to adapt to very variable environments. It is found in particular in the nostrils of 25 to 30% of the population, notes the Unige on Monday. The bacteria can become dangerous with a drop in immunity or after surgery.
Once the infection is declared, it becomes difficult to treat, because Staphylococcus aureus skilfully foils treatment with antibiotics. By researching the bacteria, Unige’s department of microbiology and molecular medicine may have opened up a way to tackle the pathogen.
“My laboratory is studying a protein that plays an important role in the ability of Staphylococcus aureus to adapt to very different environments,” Professor Patrick Linder explains in a statement. This work made it possible to discover that the protein in question was also involved in another process.
The protein also participates in the synthesis of fatty acids which are the essential constituents of the bacterial membrane. Thus, when the protein is absent, due to a genetic mutation for example, Staphylococci aureus can no longer form colonies if the temperature is below 25 degrees centigrade.
However, part of the scientific community supports the idea that a future treatment against staphylococci aureus involves a drug capable of inhibiting the synthesis of fatty acids, notes Professor Linder. The approach is not unanimous, however, and some studies contradict this point of view.
The Geneva study, in this context, offers a better understanding of the fundamental mechanisms of Staphylococcus aureus. The discovery of this link between membrane fluidity and adaptation to a change in environment represents an important step in the fight against the bacteria, concludes Unige.
The work carried out in Geneva on Staphylococcus aureus was published in the journal PLoS Genetics.
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