Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Development of antibiotic resistance more predictable than expected

New research approach can help predict the ‘tenability’ of antibiotics

Research by Wageningen University, part of Wageningen UR, has shown that the development of bacteria with resistance against the antibiotic cefotaxime occurs more often and more predictably than was previously assumed.

3D enzyme. The 48 mutations found in the enzyme TEM-1 beta-lactamase that increase resistance against the antibiotic cefotaxime. The colours indicate the increase in cefotaxime. The inset shows the same enzyme, turned 180 degrees horizontally.

Bacterial populations were found to have many mutations that increase resistance and therefore have a negative effect on public health. Moreover, the effects are such that it can be predicted that the development of bacterial strains with a resistance against cefotaxime will progress in a similar way in different patients from different locations.

Together with German colleagues, the Wageningen scientists developed a research approach which will allow them to predict whether, and if so how, resistant bacterial strains will develop for other antibiotics as well.

The Wageningen scientists studied the main enzyme that causes resistance against the antibiotic cefotaxime. The only function of this beta-lactamase enzyme is the breakdown of so-called beta-lactam antibiotics, which kill bacteria by preventing the production of their cell walls. Martijn Schenk and Arjan de Visser, genetic scientists at Wageningen University, were surprised by the number of mutations with a positive effect on the resistance against cefotaxime. De Visser: “Of all the mutations we found in this beta-lactamase, more than three per cent caused an increase in the resistance against the antibiotic. To top it all off, we discovered that the mutations with a strong effect also had a much greater impact than we had anticipated. Based on theoretical arguments and previous observations, we had estimated the effects on the resistance against the antibiotic to be significantly lower.”

The presence in particular of mutations with a very strong effect on resistance to the antibiotic facilitates the prediction of the development of resistant bacterial strains.

Collaboration with a group of physicists in Germany enabled the Wageningen scientists to study the genetic findings quantitatively, as Martijn Schenk explains: “The physicists built computer models that helped us as geneticists to move forward. We were able to show that it is probable that the bacteria will become resistant against the antibiotic in a similar way in various patients throughout the world.”

According to De Visser the approach taken can also be used to predict the ‘tenability’ of other antibiotics, as the combination of computer models with knowledge about the number and effect of the mutations provides concrete leads.

Attached files

3D enzyme. The 48 mutations found in the enzyme TEM-1 beta-lactamase that increase resistance against the antibiotic cefotaxime. The colours indicate the increase in cefotaxime. The inset shows the same enzyme, turned 180 degrees horizontally.

Table. The Wageningen scientists found an unexpectedly large amount of mutations that considerably increased the resistance of the enzyme to the antibiotic.

Full bibliographic informationSchenk, MF, IG Szendro, J Krug and JAGM de Visser. 2012. Quantifying the adaptive potential of an antibiotic resistance enzyme. PLoS Genetics 8(6): e1002783

Jac Niessen | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>