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 (http://www.jci.org).
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.
Hampton T. Staph Bacteria Target. JAMA. 2005;293(12):1440. doi:10.1001/jama.293.12.1440-c