Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a global healthcare concern. Such resistance has historically been attributed to the acquisition of mecA (or mecC), which encodes an alternative penicillin binding protein, PBP2a, with low β-lactam antibiotic affinity. However, recent studies have indicated that penicillin binding protein 4 (PBP4) is also a critical determinant of S. aureus methicillin resistance, particularly among community-acquired MRSA strains. Therefore, PBP4 has been considered an intriguing therapeutic target as corresponding inhibitors may restore MRSA β-lactam susceptibility.
In addition to its role in antibiotic resistance, PBP4 has also recently been shown to be required for S. aureus cortical bone osteocyte lacuno-canalicular network (OLCN) invasion and colonization, providing the organism with a niche for recurrent bone infection. From these perspectives, the development of PBP4 inhibitors may have tremendous impact as agents that both reverse methicillin resistance and inhibit the organism’s ability to cause chronic osteomyelitis. Our laboratory is actively involved in the identifying and characterizing PBP4 specific small molecules, as these molecules may represent promising potential as PBP4-inhibitors that can be further developed as adjuvants for the treatment of MRSA infections and/or osteomyelitis prophylactics.
« back to all projects