Certain bacteria, including the dangerous nosocomial pathogen MRSA, can protect themselves from acidic conditions in our body and thus ensure their survival. Researchers at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel have now elucidated an important mechanism in this process. A transport protein involved in cell wall biosynthesis plays a key role, they report in the journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology.
Each year, thousands of patients in Swiss hospitals become infected with dangerous pathogens that can hardly be controlled with antibiotics. The methicillin-resistant bacterium Staphylococcus aureus, MRSA for short, is particularly feared among the multi-resistant nosocomial germs. It can cause severe wound, respiratory and urinary tract infections and life-threatening sepsis. This is aggravated by the fact that MRSA causes chronic infections.