Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How Some Bacteria Survive Antibiotics

Date:
May 2, 2008
Source:
University of Illinois at Chicago
Summary:
Researchers have discovered how some bacteria can survive antibiotic treatment by turning on resistance mechanisms when exposed to the drugs. The findings could lead to more effective antibiotics to treat a variety of infections.

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have discovered how some bacteria can survive antibiotic treatment by turning on resistance mechanisms when exposed to the drugs. The findings, published in the April 24 issue of the journal Molecular Cell, could lead to more effective antibiotics to treat a variety of infections.

"When patients are treated with antibiotics some pathogenic microbes can turn on the genes that protect them from the action of the drug," said Alexander Mankin, professor and associate director of the University of Illinois at Chicago's Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology and lead investigator of the study. "We studied how bacteria can feel the presence of erythromycin and activate production of the resistance genes."

Erythromycin and newer macrolide antibiotics azithromycin and clarithromycin are often used to treat respiratory tract infections, as well as outbreaks of syphilis, acne and gonorrhea. The drugs can be used by patients allergic to penicillin.

Macrolide antibiotics act upon the ribosomes, the protein-synthesizing factories of the cell. A newly-made protein exits the ribosome through a tunnel that spans the ribosome body. Antibiotics can ward off an infection by attaching to the ribosome and preventing proteins the bacterium needs from moving through the tunnel.

Some bacteria have learned how to sense the presence of the antibiotic in the ribosomal tunnel, and in response, switch on genes that make them resistant to the drug, Mankin said. The phenomenon of inducible antibiotic expression was known decades ago, but the molecular mechanism was unknown.

Mankin and his team of researchers -- Nora Vazquez-Laslop, assistant professor in the Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, and undergraduate student Celine Thum -- used new biochemical and genetic techniques to work out the details of its operation.

"Combining biochemical data with the knowledge of the structure of the ribosome tunnel, we were able to identify some of the key molecular players involved in the induction mechanism," said Vazquez-Laslop.

"We only researched response to erythromycin-like drugs because the majority of the genetics were already known," she said. "There may be other antibiotics and resistance genes in pathogenic bacteria regulated by this same mechanism. This is just the beginning."

The research was funded through a grant from the National Science Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois at Chicago. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Illinois at Chicago. "How Some Bacteria Survive Antibiotics." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080430154945.htm>.
University of Illinois at Chicago. (2008, May 2). How Some Bacteria Survive Antibiotics. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080430154945.htm
University of Illinois at Chicago. "How Some Bacteria Survive Antibiotics." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080430154945.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Newsy (July 27, 2014) The satellite is back under ground control after a tense few days, but with a gecko sex experiment on board, the media just couldn't help themselves. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins