Wednesday, 29 October 2014

How does bacterial competition generate antibiotic resistance?

Antibiotic resistance is a serious public health concern. Resistance is mainly caused by antibiotic use, and is the result of specific genes harbored by microorganisms that reduce the impact of drug molecules.

Antibiotic use may not be the only culprit in the development of antibiotic resistance, however. A report in Cell shows that competition between methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria in biofilms generates a vancomycin-resistant strain in the absence of vancomycin exposure. This new strain evolved to resist Bsa bacteriocin secreted by another MRSA strain in the biofilm, and is very similar to the vancomycin-intermediate S. aureus (VISA) strain that has been observed clinically. (2014 Cell 158, 1060.)

Posted by Tim Sandle