Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New mechanism to fight multi-resistant bacteria revealed

19.04.2017

In recent years scientists, clinicians and pharmaceutical companies have been struggling to find new antibiotics or alternative strategies against multi-drug resistant bacteria that represent nowadays a serious health problem. In a breakthrough study now published in PLOS Biology*, Isabel Gordo and her team at Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC; Portugal) identified a compensatory mechanism in bacteria that might be used in the future as a new therapeutic target against multi-drug resistant bacteria.

As spread of multi-drug resistant bacteria increases, it is important to understand how are they being maintained in populations. Antibiotics target essential bacteria cellular functions. However, bacteria can evolve and become resistant to these drugs by acquiring mutations in genes involved in those functions.


These are E. coli bacteria with different antibiotic resistances (in yellow and blue) evolving.

Credit: Jorge Sousa, IGC.

This comes at a cost for bacteria, as most drug resistant mutations are prejudicial in the absence of the antibiotic. To overcome this, bacteria can acquire additional compensatory mutations. How these compensatory mutations evolve in multi-drug resistant bacteria was completely unknown, and was what Isabel Gordo's team proposed to study now.

Previous results from Isabel Gordo's laboratory showed that genetic interactions between resistance mutations are frequent and are the driver for multi-resistance. Now, the researchers showed that the pace of the compensatory adaptation in multi-drug resistant Escherichia coli (E. coli) strains is faster than for strains carrying a single resistance mutation.

Most importantly, they were able to identify the key proteins involved in the compensatory mechanism of multi-drug resistant bacteria. These results came from the analysis of E. coli strains with single resistance to rifampicin and to streptomycin antibiotics, and strains with resistance to both antibiotics, grown in antibiotic-free media.

"If we use a very simplistic metaphor and compare bacteria with a car, we would say that many mutations that confer resistance to streptomycin affect the motor of the cell that drives the production of proteins (the ribosome), whereas resistances to rifampicin come from mutations in the accelerator of that motor (a protein called RNA polymerase).

We now discovered that the compensatory mechanism of multi-drug resistant E. coli encompasses mutations in the 'clutch', i.e. in proteins that link the cell's 'motor' with the 'accelerator'", explains Isabel Gordo. The IGC researcher further adds: "If we can block the proteins now identified we may be able to kill multi-drug resistant bacteria, since we would be eliminating this compensatory mechanism that favours their growth in the population."

The research team predicts that the mechanism now discovered might be generally used in several other multi-drug resistances, since antibiotics target the same cellular mechanisms. Hence, the proteins now identified can be good candidate targets for the design of therapies against multi-drug resistant bacteria.

###

This study was conducted at Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência and funded by European Research Council and the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (Portugal).

*Moura de Sousa J, Balbontin R, Durão P, Gordo I (2017) Multidrug-resistant bacteria compensate for the epistasis between resistances. PLoS Biol 15(4): e2001741. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.2001741

Ana Mena | EurekAlert!

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht More genes are active in high-performance maize
19.01.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht How plants see light
19.01.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Let the good tubes roll

19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation

19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>