New research, which has determined why HA-MRSA is more deadly than other variations, may open up new pathways to vaccine development against the bacterium. In a series of experiments in mice and human immune cells led by NYU Langone Medical Center, the researchers found that the presence or absence of dueling toxins seems to explain to the major difference between HA-MRSA and the more common CA-MRSA.

The research team says LUK-PV, a key toxin secreted only by community-acquired MRSA, counteracts the effects of LUK-ED, another deadly toxin secreted by both forms of the bacterium. The research team says both LUK-PV and LUK-ED are leukotoxins that target and poison immune system white blood cells, but LUK-PV is only secreted by community-acquired MRSA, according to a Science Daily news report.

Victor Torres, PhD, senior investigator of the study, explains that the newly discovered competing relationship between the two bacterial toxins helps clarify how community-acquired MRSA is more widespread and less deadly than hospital-acquired MRSA. Torres says, “Essentially, in community-acquired MRSA, the toxins neutralize each other, while in the hospital superbug form, they do not.”

Torres adds that these study results challenge the current mindset for findings a vaccine against Staphylococcal infections, including MRSA. Torres, states, “No longer can we take an isolated approach of trying to target and block one leukotoxin at a time. We have to take a broader view of the pathogen and will likely have to target more than one toxin in order to develop an effective vaccine.”

According to Science Daily, the researchers plan to analyze the biological mechanisms by which LUK-PV and LUK-ED target, attach, and destroy white and red blood cells, which make the host more vulnerable to infection. Additional experiments will aim to determine how widespread bacteremia from Staphylococcal infections actually shut down the mammalian body, causing death.

Source: Science Daily