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 March 1, 2015 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 March 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could a $34 Smartphone Device Improve HIV Diagnosis in Africa?

Could a $34 Smartphone Device Improve HIV Diagnosis in Africa?

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Feb. 27, 2015) A dongle that plugs into a Smartphone mimics a lab-based blood test for HIV and syphilis and can detect the diseases in 15 minutes, say researchers. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor Says Head Transplants Possible Within Two Years

Doctor Says Head Transplants Possible Within Two Years

Buzz60 (Feb. 27, 2015) An Italian doctor is saying he could stick someone&apos;s head onto someone else&apos;s body. Patrick Jones (@Patrick_E_Jones) reports. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Dentist Could Help Screen You For Diabetes

How Your Dentist Could Help Screen You For Diabetes

Newsy (Feb. 27, 2015) A new study from researchers at New York University suggests dentists could soon use blood samples taken from patients&apos; mouths to test for diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Tips to Makeover Your Health

The Best Tips to Makeover Your Health

Buzz60 (Feb. 27, 2015) If you&apos;re looking to boost your health this season, there are a few quick and easy steps to prompt you for success. Krystin Goodwin (@Krystingoodwin) has the best tips to give your health a makeover this spring! Video provided by Buzz60
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