NEW ANTIOBIOTIC resistance mechanisms have been discovered by researchers at the University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK, which could pave the way for the development of new drugs to treat bacterial infections. The study could prove vital for helping combat the global health crisis caused by the antibiotic resistance epidemic.
A team from the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Microbiology and Infection focussed their work on the E. Coli bacteria in a bid to better understand the mechanisms bacteria use to withstand antibiotics. Researchers investigated a gene widely known to be involved in resistance against a number of antibiotics; however, researchers have previously found it difficult to pinpoint the precise mechanisms allowing the bacterial to become resistant to antibiotics. For this study, the team were able to apply novel experimental approaches involving whole genome sequencing that have never before been utilised in this area of research.
Following the decade-long study, the group found two, previously unknown, mechanisms of the gene allowing it to become resistant to certain antibiotics. One method stopped the drug, doxycycline, from entering the bacteria, and the other protected the bacteria’s DNA from the effects of fluoroquinolone antibiotics.
“The resistance mechanisms that we identified are found in many different species of bacteria; therefore, our research could lead to the discovery of molecules that could be developed into new drugs that can treat bacterial infections,” commented Dr Prateek Sharma, University of Birmingham, who undertook experimental work in the study.
Antibiotic resistance is a huge global health issue, and a greater understanding of the mechanisms behind drug resistance is crucial if we are to tackle this growing problem.
“Antibiotics underpin modern medical, veterinary, and farming practices worldwide. However, the efficacy of antibiotics is decreasing as more bacteria become resistant,” stated co-author Prof Laura Piddock, University of Birmingham. “Research such as ours that provides greater understanding of drug resistance mechanisms is vital if we are to address the global crisis of antibiotic resistance.”
James Coker, Senior Editorial Assistant