Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New clues to how bacteria evade antibiotics

Date:
January 9, 2014
Source:
Imperial College London
Summary:
Scientists have made an important advance in understanding how a subset of bacterial cells escape being killed by many antibiotics.

Scientists have made an important advance in understanding how a subset of bacterial cells escape being killed by many antibiotics.

Cells become "persisters" by entering a state in which they stop replicating and are able to tolerate antibiotics. Unlike antibiotic resistance, which arises because of genetic mutations and is passed on to later generations, this tolerant phase is only temporary, but it may contribute to the later development of resistance.

In a new study in the journal Science, researchers from the MRC Centre for Molecular Bacteriology and Infection at Imperial College London have succeeded in visualising persister cells in infected tissues for the first time, and have identified signals that lead to their formation.

Virtually all bacterial species form subpopulations of persisters that are tolerant to many antibiotics. Persisters are likely to be a cause of many recurrent infections, but little is known about how they arise.

The team developed a method for tracking single cells using a fluorescent protein produced by the bacteria. They showed that Salmonella, which causes gastroenteritis and typhoid fever, forms large numbers of non-replicating persisters after being engulfed by immune cells called macrophages. By adopting this non-replicating mode, Salmonella survives antibiotic treatment and lingers in the host, accounting for its ability to cause recurrent infections.

The researchers also identified factors produced by human cells that trigger bacteria to become persisters.

One of the lead authors, Dr Sophie Helaine, said: "We rely on antibiotics to defend us against common bacterial infections like tuberculosis, cystitis, tonsillitis and typhoid, but a few cells can escape treatment by becoming persisters, which allows the infection to come back. This is a big problem in itself, but it also makes it more likely that antibiotic resistance will arise and spread.

"Now we know the molecular pathways and mechanisms that lead to persister formation during infection, we can work on screening for new drugs to coax them out of this state so that they become vulnerable to antibiotics."

The other lead author, Professor David Holden, Director of the MRC Centre for Molecular Bacteriology and Infection at Imperial College London, said: "One of the most striking findings in this work is that conditions inside immune cells activate two different responses from Salmonella, causing some bacteria to replicate and others to enter a non-replicating persister state. Activating these two responses together is likely to be an important mechanism by which Salmonella survives during infection."

The research was supported by an Imperial College London Junior Research Fellowship, the Wellcome Trust and the Medical Research Council.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. S. Helaine, A. M. Cheverton, K. G. Watson, L. M. Faure, S. A. Matthews, D. W. Holden. Internalization of Salmonella by Macrophages Induces Formation of Nonreplicating Persisters. Science, 2014; 343 (6167): 204 DOI: 10.1126/science.1244705

Cite This Page:

Imperial College London. "New clues to how bacteria evade antibiotics." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140109143715.htm>.
Imperial College London. (2014, January 9). New clues to how bacteria evade antibiotics. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140109143715.htm
Imperial College London. "New clues to how bacteria evade antibiotics." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140109143715.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur on Monday when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Drake University hosts 35th annual Beautiful Bulldog Contest. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) One Florida fisherman caught a 805-pound shark off the coast of Florida earlier this month. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier

Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier

AP (Apr. 21, 2014) Breakfast is now being served with a side of sticker shock. The cost of morning staples like bacon, coffee and orange juice is on the rise because of global supply problems. (April 21) Video provided by AP
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