Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Immunology
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Lonely Bacteria are More Likely to Become Antibiotic-resistant

Published: Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Last Updated: Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Bookmark and Share
Scientists from the University of Manchester have discovered that microbes in smaller groups are more likely to mutate, resulting in higher rates of antibiotic resistance.

The study, published today in ‘Nature Communications’ and jointly funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, explored mutation rates in E. coli bacteria.

The researchers found out that the rate of mutation varied according to how many of the bacteria there were. Surprisingly, they discovered that larger groups of bacteria were less likely to mutate than smaller groups.

The more ‘lonely’ bacteria mutated more, and developed greater resistance to the well-known antibiotic Rifampicin, used to treat tuberculosis.

Dr Chris Knight, joint lead author on the study with Dr Rok Krašovec, from the University of Manchester, said: “What we were looking for was a connection between the environment and the ability of bacteria to develop the resistance to antibiotics. We discovered that the rate at which E. coli mutates depends upon how many ‘friends’ it has around. It seems that more lonely organisms are more likely to mutate.”

This change of the mutation rate is controlled by a form of social communication known as quorum sensing – this is the way bacteria let each other know how much of a crowd there is. Quorum sensing involves the release of signalling molecules by bacteria: the denser the population, the more of these molecules released and detected. This helps the bacteria understand their environment and coordinate their behaviour to improve their defence mechanisms and adapt to the availability of nutrients.

Dr Krašovec said: “We were able to change their mutation rates by changing who they shared a test-tube with, which could mean that bacteria manipulate each other’s mutation rates. It also suggests that mutation rates could be affected when bacteria are put at low densities, for instance by a person taking antibiotics.”

The rate of mutation was found to depend on the gene luxS, which is known to be involved in quorum sensing in a wide range of bacteria.

The team now hopes to find ways to control this signalling for medical applications in a future study funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

“Eventually this might lead to interventions to control mutation rates, for instance to minimise the evolution of antibiotic resistance, allowing antibiotics to work better,” said Dr Knight.

Dr Mike Turner, Head of Infection and Immunobiology at the Wellcome Trust, said: “Antibiotic resistance is a real threat to disease control and public health today. Any insight into the origins of such resistance is valuable in the fight to prevent it. Chris Knight and his team have gained a fundamental understanding of bacterial communication and the development of mutations which in the long run could contribute to more potent antibiotics and better control of bacterial disease”.


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 5,000+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Project to Focus on Link Between Immune System and Brain Disorders
Researchers to investigate whether mood disorders, such as depression, and neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, could be treated by targeting the immune system.
Monday, December 22, 2014
Ability Of HIV To Cause AIDS Could Be Slowing
Research indicates that HIV is becoming less virulent.
Tuesday, December 02, 2014
New Foot-and-Mouth Vaccine Signals Huge Advance in Global Disease Control
New FMDV vaccine designed to trigger optimum immune response.
Friday, March 29, 2013
Scientific News
Point of Care Diagnostics - A Cautious Revolution
Advances in molecular biology, coupled with the miniaturization and improved sensitivity of assays and devices in general, have enabled a new wave of point-of-care (POC) or “bedside” diagnostics.
Researchers Find a Gap in the Brain’s Firewall Against Parkinson’s Disease
Researchers at NIH have found mouse study that identified a key player in the progression of the disorder.
‘Cellbots’ Chase Down Cancer, Deliver Drugs Directly to Tumors
Programmable T cells shown to be versatile, precise, and powerful in lab studies.
Faecal Bacteria Linked to Body Fat
Researchers at King’s College London have found a new link between the diversity of bacteria in human poo – known as the human faecal microbiome - and levels of abdominal body fat.
Anti-Inflammatory Drugs Could Strengthen Airway Immunity
Mold toxins can weaken the airways' clearing mechanisms and immunity, but PKC inhibitors showed promise as a treatment.
Antibodies Paving the Way to HIV Vaccine
Researchers uncover factors responsible for the formation of broadly neutralizing HIV antibodies in humans.
Vaccine Against Common Cold Achievable
Researchers suggest that a vaccine against rhinoviruses is possible using variant virus vaccines.
Treating Sepsis with Marine Mitochondria
Mitochondrial alternative oxidase from a marine animal combats bacterial sepsis.
Iron Nanoparticles Make Immune Cells Attack Cancer
Researchers accidentally discover that nanoparticles invented for anemia treatment can trigger the immune system’s ability to destroy tumor cells.
Uncovering Cancer’s ‘Invisibility Cloak’
Researchers discover cancer cell mechanism to become invisible to the body's immune system.
Skyscraper Banner

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,000+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!