Vitamin B7 ‘mimic’ could be used to treat staph infections
Adelaide University’s Ashleigh Paparella says she has discovered a new class of vitamin-like molecules that can be used to treat life-threatening Staphylococcus aureus, or golden staph.
“Golden staph is a dangerous bacteria that is resistant to many common antibiotics,” said Paparella.
“We’ve discovered a new class of antibiotics that stops golden staph in its tracks by preventing its use of vitamin B7.”
Normally, golden staph picks up vitamin B7 from its environment and uses it as a co-factor to create energy for growth and metabolism. Ashleigh found that her antibiotic, which acts by mimicking vitamin B7, prevents the normal activity of B7 by blocking the activity of an enzyme called BPL.
“We’ve also tested to show that our B7 mimic does not block BPL in human cells, so it is safe to use,” she added.
While these studies have been conducted in cultured cells so far, Ashleigh is now measuring the capacity of the B7 mimic to treat real-life infections.
“Antibiotic resistance is a global threat to human health,” said Paparella. “We hope our research will help tackle this important issue.”