Project Title: Interaction and mechanism of penicillin-binding proteins in methicillin-resistant S. aureus
I am interested in how bacteria become resistant to antibiotics. The development of bacteriolytic and bactericidal compounds has enabled effective treatment of many bacterial infections. However, bacteria have, in turn, evolved mechanisms to evade these drugs. Since the cell membrane is impermeable to many of these molecules, a common target for drugs is the machinery which builds the cell wall. A well-known class of antibiotics which targets cell wall synthesis is the β-lactams, which include cephalosporins and penicillins (such as methicillin). My thesis project investigates the differences between cell wall synthesis enzymes in methicillin-sensitive and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), as well as the interactions between these components. Methicillin-resistant bacteria have presented a significant clinical problem for many years, and elucidating the mechanism of resistance provides the possibility to develop new therapeutics which are effective against these organisms.