Potential new treatment for MRSA detected in deep-water marine sponge

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An organic compound extracted from a deep-water marine sponge displayed potent antibacterial capabilities when introduced to methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, according to research recently published in the journal Marine Drugs.

Researchers with the marine biomedical and biotechnology program at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University in Fort Pierce found the sponge — which was of the genus Spongosorites — while searching for unusual marine organisms near the Bahamas. In the laboratory, researchers isolated a unique alkaloid from the sponge, whch they named dragmacidin G.

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"Sponges of the genus Spongosorites, have been a source of a number of biologically active bis-indole alkaloids that are reported to have a variety of activities including antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antiplasmodial, cytotoxic, as well as anti-inflammatory activities," said Amy Wright, PhD, lead author of the study and a research professor at FAU's Harbor Branch, who directs the Institute's drug discovery program.

When tested in laboratory assays, the compound displayed inhibitive qualities for MRSA, the causative agent for tuberculosis and the parasite Plasmodium falciparum, one of the causes of malaria in humans.

The researchers suggest further studies are needed to determine dragmacidin G's possible use as a new antibiotic.

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