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Health Agencies Update
March 23/30, 2005

Staph Bacteria Target

JAMA. 2005;293(12):1440. doi:10.1001/jama.293.12.1440-c

New research has identified a bacterial component that may be a promising target for therapeutic strategies aimed at treating dangerous hospital-acquired Staphylococcus infections. The report appears in the February online edition of the Journal of Clinical Investigation (

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health discovered that S epidermidis secretes a substance known as poly-gamma-dl-glutamic acid (PGA) to grow and survive in humans. PGA protects S epidermidis from key components of the innate host immune response and also protects the bacterium from high salt concentration, a feature of human skin. The scientists also found that PGA is also produced by a number of closely related staphylococci that are opportunistic pathogens.

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