A Trojan horse approach could lead to treatments for some antibiotic-resistant bacteria

phys.org | 3/5/2014 | Staff
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A deadly, antibiotic-resistant bacterium can be sterilized by hijacking its heme-acquisition system, which is essential for its survival. The new strategy, developed by Nagoya University researchers and colleagues in Japan, was published in the journal ACS Chemical Biology.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a dangerous bacterium that causes infections in hospital settings and in people with weakened immune systems. It can cause blood infections and pneumonia, while severe infections can be deadly. Highly resistant to antibiotic treatment, P. aeruginosa is one of the most critical pathogens urgently requiring alternative treatment strategies, according to the World Health Organization.

Bacterium - System - Iron - Body - Iron

This bacterium is one of many that have evolved a system that allows them to acquire difficult-to-access iron from the human body. Iron is essential for bacterial growth and survival, but in humans, most of it is held up within the 'heme' complex of hemoglobin. To get hold of it, P. aeruginosa and other bacteria secrete a protein, called HasA, which latches onto heme in the blood. This complex is recognized by a membrane receptor on the bacterium called HasR, permitting heme entry into the bacterial cell, while HasA is recycled to pick up more heme.

Bioinorganic chemist Osami Shoji of Nagoya University and collaborators have found a way to hijack this 'heme acquisition system' for drug delivery. They...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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