Beta lactones are synthetically produced small molecules that tremendously reduce the pathogenicity of Staphylococcus aureus and MRSA. They act by inhibiting the caseinolytic protease P (ClpP), a key regulator of multiple virulence factors. Thereby the production of detrimental bacterial toxins (i.e. hemolysins, toxic shock syndrome toxin, enterotoxins) is prevented resulting in disarming the bacteria during infection. Bacterial killing and clearance can therefore be achieved through the action of the immune system. Importantly, the concept of antivirulence prevents both the biggest challenges in antibiotic treatment today: resistance development and side effects. This also allows for longer treatment periods.
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