A Novel Antimicrobial Strategy Against Methicillin-Resistant S Aureus (MRSA)

Type of Award: catalyst
Award Number:
Award Period: September 2013 - August 2015
Amount Awarded: $ 200,000.00
PI(s): Robert Daum, MD, UChicago; Michael E. Johnson, PhD, UIC;

Abstract: Staphylococcus aureus (Staph) is the most common cause of bacterial skin infections and an important cause of invasive disease and life threatening illness. Methicillin (Mc) is a penicillin antibiotic that was once the mainstay for treatment of Staph infections. However, strains that are Mc-resistant (known by the acronym, MRSA) have been increasing in prevalence and virulence in recent years. Since MRSA strains are resistant to nearly all penicillin antibiotics and are often resistant to other antibiotic classes as well, new antibiotics are desperately needed to treat MRSA infections. We propose to identify chemical inhibitors of an important Staph antibiotic sensing system called vraTSR that can be used in combination with Mc or its modern day chemical relative, oxacillin (Ox), to treat MRSA infections. We reason that combining such an inhibitor with Ox will effectively treat patients that are infected with MRSA strains. Our idea is to find inhibitors of VraTSR, a system that is required by MRSA strains to stay resistant to Ox. Therefore, this proposal specifically seeks to identify chemical inhibitors of VraTSR that can block resistance and move these inhibitors closer to the clinical marketplace.