Re­sis­tant bac­te­ria steal our fat

Science Illustrated - - SCIENCE UPDATE -

Mul­tire­sis­tant staphy­lo­cocci have a clever de­fence against our an­tibi­otics, ac­cord­ing to sci­en­tists from the Michi­gan State Univer­sity. They steal our fat.

The bac­terium, which is also known as MRSA, is very com­mon and usu­ally quite harm­less, but it causes prob­lems in hospitals. Peo­ple who are al­ready weak due to surgery, might find their lives at risk if they are in­fected with MRSA. To­day, the bac­te­ria can only be com­bated by means of spe­cial an­tibi­otics, which doc­tors use very cau­tiously to make sure that the bac­te­ria will not be­come re­sis­tant to th­ese drugs as well.

Most an­tibi­otics in­flu­ence bac­te­ria by pre­vent­ing them from pro­duc­ing the fats, that they need in their cell mem­branes. The re­sult is that the bac­te­ria break down and die. How­ever, the at­tack is lost on MRSA, be­cause the bac­te­ria does not need to pro­duce its own fats, rather it is able to ab­sorb fats from our blood and use it to build its cell mem­brane. Choles­terol has a high con­tent of fatty acids, of which the bac­terium can make use. The sci­en­tists now aim to de­velop drugs fo­cused on the genes that al­low MRSA to steal the fats from our blood. If they man­age to ob­struct the genes, the bac­terium will be­come vul­ner­a­ble to many of the types of an­tibi­otics, which presently have no ef­fect on it.

Mul­tire­sis­tant staphy­lo­cocci bac­te­ria, MRSA, steal fats from our blood and use it in their cell mem­branes. Con­se­quently, an­tibi­otics have no ef­fect on them.

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