Gene possibly could slow staph outbreaks

Researchers at the University of Tokyo have found a gene in the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) that restrains the toxins and movement of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that often cause deadly mass infections in hospitals.

"By restraining its own toxicity, the bacteria is probably employing a strategy of coexisting with its human host," said Kazuhisa Sekimizu, a microbiology professor who led the team.

MRSA with the particular gene had less than half of the toxins of the bacteria without the gene. The bacteria also moved more slowly.

Mice infected with the bacteria with the particular gene were found to survive about 10 times longer than otherwise.

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