Staphylococcus aureus is a bacteria that lives on the skin or inside the nose of almost one in three people in the world. However, these harmless bacteria can turn into real monsters, causing dangerous infections in the skin, blood, bones or elsewhere. Some strains of Staphylococcus aureus are also drug-resistant “superbacteria,” with properties that protect them from even our best antibiotics.
A new study by researchers at the University of Melbourne reveals valuable details about how these bacteria trick our immune system by hiding inside human cells. Using a new technique called InToxSa, the researchers studied the behavior of Staphylococcus aureus inside human cells on a larger scale and with greater speed and efficiency.
The study showed that Staphylococcus aureus can survive and multiply inside host cells, which helps the bacteria avoid detection by the host’s immune system. The researchers identified specific mutations that make S. aureus less toxic to host cells and promote its “intracellular persistence.
This is an important advance in understanding how Staphylococcus aureus can cause deadly infections. By shedding light on such secrets, however, we may eventually find more effective ways to disinfect Staphylococcus aureus, offering people a much-needed boost in our ongoing battle with the superbacteria.