Scientists reveal how bacteria develop antibiotic resistance

ANI | Updated: Oct 18, 2017 11:24 IST

Scientists reveal how bacteria develop antibiotic resistance .

Washington DC [USA], Oct 18 (ANI): A team of researchers has recently revealed more information about how some bacteria manage to resist antibiotics: genetics .

They found 76 new types of resistance genes that make bacteria invulnerable to last-resort antibiotics .

The research suggested that increasing number of infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria is a rapidly growing global problem . Disease-causing bacteria become resistant through mutations of their own DNA or by acquiring resistance genes from other, often harmless, bacteria .

Several of the genes give the bacteria its ability to protect against our most powerful antibiotics .

The findings meant scientists are one-step closer to finding a way of developing drugs to get rid of antibiotic resistant bacteria .

Several of these genes can provide bacteria with the ability to degrade carbapenems, our most powerful class of antibiotics used to treat multi-resistant bacteria .

Principal investigator Erik Kristiansson from Chalmers University of Technology said that there are lots of unknown resistance genes . Knowledge about these genes makes it possible to more effectively find and hopefully tackle new forms of multi-resistant bacteria .

"The more we know about how bacteria can defend themselves against antibiotics, the better are our odds for developing effective, new drugs", said co-author Joakim Larsson from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden .

They identified the novel genes by analysing DNA sequences from bacteria collected from humans and various environments from all over the world .

"Resistance genes are often very rare and a lot of DNA data needs to be examined before a new gene can be found", Kristiansson added .

Identifying a resistance gene is also challenging if it has not previously been encountered .

"The novel genes we discovered are only the tip of the iceberg . There are still many unidentified antibiotic resistance genes that could become major global health problems in the future," Kristiansson noted .

The results are published in the scientific journal Microbiome . (ANI)