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Free Content Methicillin resistance in Staphylococcus aureus: mechanisms and modulation

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Staphylococcus aureus is a major pathogen both within hospitals and in the community. Methicillin, a β-lactam antibiotic, acts by inhibiting penicillin-binding proteins (PBPs) that are involved in the synthesis of peptidoglycan, an essential mesh-like polymer that surrounds the cell. S. aureus can become resistant to methicillin and other β-lactam antibiotics through the expression of a foreign PBP, PBP2a, that is resistant to the action of methicillin but which can perform the functions of the host PBPs. Methicillin-resistant S. aureus isolates are often resistant to other classes of antibiotics (through different mechanisms) making treatment options limited, and this has led to the search for new compounds active against these strains. An understanding of the mechanism of methicillin resistance has led to the discovery of accessory factors that influence the level and nature of methicillin resistance. Accessory factors, such as Fem factors, provide possible new targets, while compounds that modulate methicillin resistance such as epicatechin gallate, derived from green tea, and corilagin, provide possible lead compounds for development of inhibitors.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Science Review, PO Box 314, St. Albans, Herts AL1 4ZG, UK

Publication date: 15 February 2002

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  • SCIENCE PROGRESS has for over 100 years been a highly regarded review publication in science, technology and medicine. Its objective is to excite the readers' interest in areas with which they may not be fully familiar but which could facilitate their interest, or even activity, in a cognate field. Science Progress commissions world authorities to contribute articles on the most interesting, important and meaningful topics - ranging from cosmology to the environment - and ensures that they are presented for the most effective use of those in both academia and industry.

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    Cover image: Plastic debris washed-up on a river bank. The manufacture and use of different types of plastic, and the effects of pollution by these materials are discussed in the article on pages 207–260. Credit: By igorstevanovic/

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