Nova Research Results

Potentiating Effect of Killed Bacterial Cells and Extracts on the Hemolytic and Dermonecrotic Activity of MRSA* Alpha Toxin

*Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus

Dr. Paul J. Pearce

Previous reports have shown that killed cells of MRSA potentiate the lethal effect of crude, naturally occurring staphylococcal alpha toxin. In the present study this synergistic effect was demonstrated with highly purified preparations of alpha toxin. Time studies indicate that the active agent does not appear to be released until approximately two hours following administration of the whole, killed MRSA cells.
Phenol-water and trichloroacetic acid (TCA) extraction of heat killed MRSA cells failed to remove the potentiating substance from the cells. Extraction of the killed MRSA cells with toluene and chloroform-methanol failed to extract the active agent. Acidified acetone-alcohol appeared to destroy the active agent. On the other hand, cells treated with phenol-water and TCA exhibited a greater alpha toxin potentiating capacity than did untreated killed MRSA cell suspensions.
Chemical analysis of the alpha toxin potentiating agent revealed approximately 80% protein, 15% nucleic acid and 5% carbohydrate.
Additional studies are needed to determine the structure and function of the potentiating agent and to determine its role in the pathogenicity of MRSA.

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