Researchers at Edinburgh University have shed new light on the way superbugs such as MRSA are able to become resistant to antibiotics.
The team from the school of chemistry mapped the molecular structure of an enzyme found in many bacteria, which control the speed at which bacteria acquire resistance to drugs, becoming so-called superbugs.
The study focused on E. coli, but researchers say the results would apply to many other infectious bacteria. It was carried out by an international team, including researchers from Poland and France, as well as the universities of Leeds and Portsmouth.
Edinburgh’s Dr David Dryden, said: “We have known that these enzymes are very effective in protecting bacteria from attack by other species.
“Now we have painted a picture of how this occurs, which should prove to be a valuable insight in tackling the spread of antibiotic-resistant superbugs.”