Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Structure Mediating Spread Of Antibiotic Resistance Identified

Date:
January 9, 2009
Source:
Wellcome Trust
Summary:
Scientists have identified the structure of a key component of the bacteria behind such diseases as whooping cough, peptic stomach ulcers and Legionnaires' disease. The research sheds light on how antibiotic resistance genes spread from one bacterium to another. The research may help scientists develop novel treatments for these diseases and novel ways to curtail the spread of antibiotic resistance.

Scientists have identified the structure of a key component of the bacteria behind such diseases as whooping cough, peptic stomach ulcers and Legionnaires' disease. The research, funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), sheds light on how antibiotic resistance genes spread from one bacterium to another.

Related Articles


The research may help scientists develop novel treatments for these diseases and novel ways to curtail the spread of antibiotic resistance.

Antibiotic resistance spreads when genetic material is exchanged between two bacteria, one of which has mutated to be resistant to the drugs. This exchange is facilitated by a multi-component device known as a type IV secretion system, which acts to transport antibiotic resistance genes from within one cell, through its membrane and into a neighbouring cell.

Type IV secretion systems also play an essential role in transporting toxins or proteins from within bacteria into the cells of the body, causing diseases. Examples of Gram-negative bacterial pathogens using such a device are Helicobacter pylori (which causes peptic ulcers), Legionella pneumophila (which causes Legionnaires' disease), and Bordetella pertussis (which causes whooping cough).

Now, in a paper published in the journal Science, scientists from the Institute of Structural and Molecular Biology (ISMB) at Birkbeck, University of London, and UCL (University College London) describe the structure of the core complex of a type IV secretion system, viewed using cryoelectron microscopy (a form of electron microscopy where the sample is studied at very low temperatures).

"Type IV secretion systems play key roles in secreting toxins which give certain bacteria their disease-causing properties and, importantly, are also directly involved in the spread of antibiotic resistance," says Professor Gabriel Waksman, Director of the ISMB and lead author of the study. "This is why they have become obvious targets in the vast effort required to fight infectious diseases caused by bacteria."

Gram-negative bacteria have a double membrane. At the core of the type IV secretion system is a double-walled chamber which spans the two membranes and opens at one side. Dr Waksman believes this chamber may offer a new pathway for targeting these bacteria.

"If we can inhibit the secretion systems that mediate transfer of antibiotic resistance genes from one bacterial pathogen to another, we could potentially prevent the spread of antibiotic resistance genes," he says. "For those pathogens that use type IV secretion system for secretion of toxins, the system can be targeted directly for inhibition. In both cases, this would have a considerable impact on public health."

Type IV secretion systems were first discovered in Agrobacterium tumefaciens, which uses the system to transfer tumour-inducing DNA into plants, causing "crown gall", which can be devastating to crops such as grape vines, sugar beet and rhubarb. However, crop scientists have been able to successfully exploit this transfer system as a way of introducing new genes into industrial crops, conferring herbicide-resistance and resistance to pathogens.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wellcome Trust. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Wellcome Trust. "Structure Mediating Spread Of Antibiotic Resistance Identified." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 January 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090108144753.htm>.
Wellcome Trust. (2009, January 9). Structure Mediating Spread Of Antibiotic Resistance Identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090108144753.htm
Wellcome Trust. "Structure Mediating Spread Of Antibiotic Resistance Identified." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090108144753.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) According to research out of the University of Pennsylvania, waking up for work is the biggest factor that causes Americans to lose sleep. 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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