Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Biologics & Bioprocessing
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Insights into MRSA Epidemic

Published: Wednesday, May 02, 2012
Last Updated: Wednesday, May 02, 2012
Bookmark and Share
Scientists identify a gene playing a pivotal role in epidemic waves of MRSA infections in Asia.

NIH scientists and their colleagues in China have identified a gene that’s been playing a pivotal role in epidemic waves of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections in Asia. The finding suggests a potential target for novel therapeutics.

Decades ago, doctors used penicillin to treat people infected with the S. aureus bacterium, commonly known as staph. When S. aureus developed resistance to the antibiotic, doctors turned to methicillin.

In 1961, scientists identified the first strains of S. aureus bacteria that resisted methicillin. MRSA is now a leading cause of severe infections in hospitals.

Since bacteria inherit identical copies of their mother cell's genes, lineages are referred to as clones. MRSA epidemics occur in waves, with old clones of MRSA bacteria disappearing and new clones emerging.

A limited number of MRSA clones are responsible for most MRSA infections worldwide.

In China and large parts of Asia, ST239 is the predominant MRSA lineage. Recently, genome sequencing of ST239 revealed a rare new gene.

A research team led by Dr. Michael Otto of NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and Dr. Yuan Lu of Fudan University in Shanghai set out to study whether the new gene, which they called sasX, might play a role in the spread of MRSA in China.

The researchers analyzed 807 patient samples of invasive S. aureus taken over the past decade from 3 Chinese hospitals.

In the early online edition of Nature Medicine on April 22, 2012, they reported that sasX is more prevalent in MRSA strains from China than previously thought.

They found that the gene's frequency is also increasing: From 2003 to 2011, the percentage of MRSA samples containing sasX almost doubled, from 21% to 39%.

Most of the sasX-positive samples in the study were from ST239. However, while sasX was found almost exclusively among ST239 strains early in the study, its frequency among other clonal types increased considerably since then, from 5% in 2003-2005 to 28% in 2009-2011.

This supports a long-held theory that new clones of virulent MRSA arise through the exchange of DNA between different strains. Indeed, the sasX gene is embedded in a so-called mobile genetic element, a DNA segment that can transfer easily between strains.

The researchers next explored the biological role of sasX. They found that the protein coded by sasX appears at the S. aureus cell surface.

A series of laboratory and mouse studies showed that sasX helps the bacteria to colonize the nose and cause skin abscesses and lung disease. The protein also helps the bacteria evade human immune defenses.

Taken together, these findings establish sasX as a crucial factor in MRSA's virulence and a probable driving force of the Asian MRSA epidemic. “This research helps us understand how new, more dangerous forms of MRSA can keep appearing,” Otto says.

Based on their observations, the researchers predict that sasX is likely to continue to spread. They plan to keep monitoring its progress. They're also working to develop therapeutics against MRSA strains that express sasX.


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,000+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,400+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Factors Influencing Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Uncovered
The long-held approach to predicting seasonal influenza vaccine effectiveness may need to be revisited, new research suggests.
Thursday, April 21, 2016
Study Finds Factors That May Influence Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness
Researchers at NIH have suggested that the long-held approach to predicting seasonal influenza vaccine effectiveness may need to be revisited.
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Improving Flu Vaccine Effectiveness
NIH study finds factors that may influence influenza vaccine effectiveness.
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Submissions Open for the Cancer Moonshot Program
NCI opens online platform to submit ideas about research for Cancer Moonshot.
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
NIH Awards Grants to Explore Vaccine Adjuvants
NIH awards six grants to explore how combination adjuvants improve vaccines.
Wednesday, April 06, 2016
Experimental Vaccine Protects Against Dengue Virus
An experimental dengue vaccine protected all the volunteers who received it from infection with a live dengue virus.
Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Promising Experimental Dengue Vaccine
A clinical trial in which volunteers were infected with dengue virus six months after receiving either an experimental dengue vaccine or a placebo injection yielded starkly contrasting results.
Thursday, March 17, 2016
Experimental Ebola Antibody Protects Monkeys
Antibody isolated from Ebola survivor can advance to clinical trials.
Friday, February 26, 2016
Natural Protein Points to New Inflammation Treatment
Findings may offer insight to effective treatments for inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and multiple sclerosis.
Friday, February 05, 2016
Dengue Vaccine Enters Phase 3 Trial
Investigational vaccine to prevent ‘breakbone fever’ developed at NIH.
Friday, January 15, 2016
NIH Unveils FY2016–2020 Strategic Plan
Detailed plan sets course for advancing scientific discoveries and human health.
Thursday, December 17, 2015
Molecule Proves Key to Brain Repair After Stroke
Scientists found that a molecule known as growth and differentiation factor 10 (GDF10) plays a key role in repair mechanisms following stroke.
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
NIH Announces High-Risk, High-Reward Research Awardees
NIH to fund 78 awards to support highly innovative biomedical research.
Wednesday, October 07, 2015
NIH Launches Human RSV Study
Study aims to understand infection in healthy adults to aid development of RSV medicines, vaccines.
Thursday, August 27, 2015
Large Percentage of Youth with HIV May Lack Immunity to Measles, Mumps, Rubella
NIH study finds those vaccinated before starting modern HIV therapy may be at risk.
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Scientific News
Understanding Female HIV Transmission
Glowing virus maps points of entry through entire female reproductive tract for first time.
Soy Shows Promise as Natural Anti-Microbial Agent
Soy isoflavones and peptides may inhibit the growth of microbial pathogens that cause food-borne illnesses, according to a new study from University of Guelph researchers.
Designing Better Drugs
A rational drug engineering approach could breathe new life into drug development.
AstraZeneca to Sequence 2 Million Genomes in Search for New Drugs
Company launches integrated genomics approach which aims to transform drug discovery and development.
Factors Influencing Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Uncovered
The long-held approach to predicting seasonal influenza vaccine effectiveness may need to be revisited, new research suggests.
Study Finds Factors That May Influence Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness
Researchers at NIH have suggested that the long-held approach to predicting seasonal influenza vaccine effectiveness may need to be revisited.
New Model to Enhance Zika Virus Research
The model will allow researchers to better understand how the virus causes disease and aid in the development of antiviral compounds and vaccines.
Improving Flu Vaccine Effectiveness
NIH study finds factors that may influence influenza vaccine effectiveness.
BMS’s Opdivo Clinical Trial Shows Promise
Safety profile of the combination regimen from CheckMate -069 was consistent with previously reported studies and adverse events were managed using established safety algorithms.
CNS Inflammation: A Pathway and Possible Drug Target
Scientists have long known that the central nervous system (CNS) has a remarkable ability to limit excessive inflammation in the presence of antigens or injury, but how it works has been unclear.
SELECTBIO

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,000+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,400+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!