While sifting through the bacterial genome of salmonella, Cornell University food scientists discovered mcr-9, a new stealthy, jumping gene so diabolical and robust that it resists one of the world's few last-resort antibiotics.
Doctors deploy the antibiotic colistin when all other infection-fighting options are exhausted. But resistance to colistin has emerged around the globe, threatening its efficacy.
"This last-resort antibiotic has been designated a highest-priority antibiotic by the United Nations' World Health Organization, and the mcr-9 gene causes bacteria to resist it," said Martin Wiedmann, food safety professor and senior author on the study, published May 7 in the journal mBio. "In treatments, if colistin does not work, it literally could mean death for patients. If colistin resistance spreads, a lot of people will die."
Co-lead author Laura Carroll, a computational biologist and Cornell doctoral candidate, found mcr-9 in the genome of a strain of foodborne pathogen salmonella.
Mcr-9 is the latest in this new series of "mobilized colistin-resistance" genes - originally discovered in 2015. The National Center for Biotechnology Information, part of the National Institutes of Health, has added details about this new gene to its database. Medical professionals and others can now use this information to identify mcr-9 in bacteria isolated from food products and people.
Details about mcr-9 in national and international databases enable scientists to develop better prevention and treatment, explained Wiedmann. "This improves our ability to get an early warning," he said.
Bacteria isolated from food products can now be tested for mcr-9, and patients can be screened for colistin-resistant bacteria, which possess mcr-9.
"If you go to a hospital and this gene is floating around, that can be trouble. The gene is moveable. It jumps," Wiedmann said. "In a hospital setting, being able to screen a patient for resistance allows doctors and nurses to isolate the patient and maintain biosecurity."
In addition to Carroll and Wiedmann, co-authors were microbiologist Ahmed Gaballa, postdoctoral researcher Claudia Guldimann and graduate students Lory Henderson and Genevieve Sullivan.
This work was funded by the National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship Program, with additional funding by the NSF Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide, through a partnership with the Swiss National Science Foundation.
Cornell University has dedicated television and audio studios available for media interviews supporting full HD, ISDN and web-based platforms.
Lindsey Hadlock | EurekAlert!
UC San Diego cancer scientists identify new drug target for multiple tumor types
12.07.2019 | University of California - San Diego
Bacteria engineered as Trojan horse for cancer immunotherapy
04.07.2019 | Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science
For some phenomena in quantum many-body physics several competing theories exist. But which of them describes a quantum phenomenon best? A team of researchers from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Harvard University in the United States has now successfully deployed artificial neural networks for image analysis of quantum systems.
Is that a dog or a cat? Such a classification is a prime example of machine learning: artificial neural networks can be trained to analyze images by looking...
An international research group led by scientists from the University of Bayreuth has produced a previously unknown material: Rhenium nitride pernitride. Thanks to combining properties that were previously considered incompatible, it looks set to become highly attractive for technological applications. Indeed, it is a super-hard metallic conductor that can withstand extremely high pressures like a diamond. A process now developed in Bayreuth opens up the possibility of producing rhenium nitride pernitride and other technologically interesting materials in sufficiently large quantity for their properties characterisation. The new findings are presented in "Nature Communications".
The possibility of finding a compound that was metallically conductive, super-hard, and ultra-incompressible was long considered unlikely in science. It was...
An interdisciplinary research team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has built platinum nanoparticles for catalysis in fuel cells: The new size-optimized catalysts are twice as good as the best process commercially available today.
Fuel cells may well replace batteries as the power source for electric cars. They consume hydrogen, a gas which could be produced for example using surplus...
The fly agaric with its red hat is perhaps the most evocative of the diverse and variously colored mushroom species. Hitherto, the purpose of these colors was...
Physicists at the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg report the first result of the new Alphatrap experiment. They measured the bound-electron g-factor of highly charged (boron-like) argon ions with unprecedented precision of 9 digits. In comparison with a new highly accurate quantum electrodynamic calculation they found an excellent agreement on a level of 7 digits. This paves the way for sensitive tests of QED in strong fields like precision measurements of the fine structure constant α as well as the detection of possible signatures of new physics. [Physical Review Letters, 27 June 2019]
Quantum electrodynamics (QED) describes the interaction of charged particles with electromagnetic fields and is the most precisely tested physical theory. It...
24.06.2019 | Event News
29.04.2019 | Event News
17.04.2019 | Event News
12.07.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
12.07.2019 | Life Sciences
12.07.2019 | Health and Medicine