BIOREACTIVITY AND CYTOTOXICITY OF COMMUNITY-ASSOCIATED METHICILLIN-RESISTANT (MRSA) METABOLITES
Maria Vides1, Julieta Aguilar2, Michael Dores2.
1Pomona College, Claremont, CA, 2University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA.
In recent years, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has become a major challenge to public health, affecting 80,000 individuals each year and causing 11,000 deaths in the U.S. alone. Two main strains of MRSA have been identified, hospital-associated methicillin resistant S. aureus (HA-MRSA) and community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA). Currently, the virulence of CA-MRSA is poorly understood. Using a peptidomics approach, 6 bioactive peptides were identified in CA-MRSA that are absent in HA-MRSA. These peptides robustly stimulate primary immune cells and cause lysis of blood cells. Since CA-MRSA typically cause skin and soft tissue infection, this study will test the effects of the 6 peptides on immune cells and skin cells. Preliminary results show that these peptides cause cell death. Further studies will identify the process of cell death by mass spectrometry and microscopy. This project will provide a new understanding of how CA-MRSA peptides damage mammalian tissues, and will lead to the development of new pharmacological avenues of intervention for the treatment of MRSA infections.