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Exploiting a Bacterial Drug-Resistance Mechanism: A Light-Activated Construct for the Destruction of MRSA


  • We thank Otsuka Chemicals for their generous gift of ACLE and Dr. Robert Moellering, Jr. for kindly providing the strains of MRSA. This research was funded by the Department of Defense/Air Force Office of Scientific Research (DOD/AFOSR) (grant number: FA9550-04-1-0079). MRSA=methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.


A cunning and dangerous plan foiled! An enzyme-specific molecular construct exploits the overexpression of β-lactamase in several drug-resistant bacteria. Specific photodynamic toxicity was detected towards β-lactam-resistant methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), whereby the usual mechanism for antibiotic resistance (cleavage of the β-lactam ring) releases the phototoxic component from the prodrug (see picture; Q=quencher).

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