Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Will the Plague Pathogen Become Resistant to Antibiotics?

21.03.2007
A small piece of DNA that helps bacteria commonly found in US meat and poultry resist several antibiotics has also been found in the plague bacillus Yersinia pestis, gene sequence researchers report.

The ability to resist many of the antibiotics used against plague has been found so far in only a single case of the disease in Madagascar. But because the same ability is present in other kinds of bacteria from a broad range of livestock, antibiotic resistance could potentially spread to other Y. pestis and also other bacterial pathogens. In a paper published March 21 in the new journal PLoS ONE, the authors say this possibility "represents a significant public health concern."

Genetic ability to disable antibiotics, including multidrug resistance (MDR) sequences, is carried on plasmids, small circles of DNA that are passed easily between bacteria. In this study, the same MDR plasmids found in the Y. pestis from Madagascar were also present in bacteria such as Salmonella and Escherichia coli found in retail samples of beef, pork, chicken, and turkey from several US states.

"What we've done is revealed a mechanism for the acquisition of multidrug resistance in Y. pestis. Obviously, this is an event that might have serious human health consequences. But the sequencing work we've done has given us a way to monitor this plasmid in future," says senior author Jacques Ravel of The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) in Rockville, MD.

... more about:
»MDR »PLoS »Plasmid »antibiotic »pestis »resist

"The fact that we found a plasmid usually found in Salmonella in Y. pestis is a big problem. It also raises a question about how this happened, how it went from one to the other. But that's a question we cannot answer in this paper," Ravel notes. He urges a new monitoring program to track MDR in Y. pestis.

MDR Salmonella and E. coli have been found in droppings from wild geese, raising the possibility that wild animals might be able to spread MDR far beyond the livestock where it originated, Ravel notes.

"When we identified the first Y. pestis strain resistant to multiple antibiotics, we warned that if this type of strain spreads or emerges again, it would pose a serious health problem" says co-author Elisabeth Carniel, head of the Yersinia Research Unit at the Institut Pasteur in Paris. "The discovery that the multiresistance plasmid acquired by the plague bacillus is widespread in environmental bacteria reinforces this warning".

There have been many plague epidemics in human history, and Y. pestis is believed to have killed an estimated 200 million people. Plague is now regarded as a re-emerging disease, with small outbreaks all over the world. Because plague is often fatal, Y. pestis is a potential agent for bioterrorism. There is no vaccine, but antibiotics are useful for treatment and for preventing the disease's spread. The researchers observe, "Our data imply that high levels of MDR in the causative agent of plague may rapidly evolve naturally, and present a vital biomedical, public health, and biodefense threat."

The paper resulted from an international collaboration among researchers at TIGR, a division of the J. Craig Venter Institute, the Institut Pasteur in Paris, the Agricultural Research Service of the US Department of Agriculture, and the US Food and Drug Administration. This work was performed at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases-funded Microbial Sequencing Center managed by TIGR.

The paper appears in the March 21 issue of PLoS ONE, the international, peer-reviewed, open-access, online publication from the Public Library of Science (PLoS). After publication, the paper will be available on the PLoS ONE site (www.plosone.org) and at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0000309.

Andrew Hyde | alfa
Further information:
http://www.plosone.org
http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0000309

Further reports about: MDR PLoS Plasmid antibiotic pestis resist

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Newly designed molecule binds nitrogen
23.02.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Atomic Design by Water
23.02.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Attoseconds break into atomic interior

A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.

In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...

Im Focus: Good vibrations feel the force

A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.

By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Basque researchers turn light upside down

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator

23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Attoseconds break into atomic interior

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>