Friday, 15 March 2019

Genes that Help Harmful Bacteria Thwart Treatment


A Rutgers-led team has discovered two genes that make some strains of harmful Staphyloccocus bacteria resistant to treatment by copper, a potent and frequently used antibacterial agent.

The discovery shows that Staphyloccocus aureus can acquire additional genes that promote infections and antibacterial resistance and may open new paths for the development of antibacterial drugs,
according to a study in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Researchers at Rutgers University–New Brunswick found the two genes in some strains of S. aureus bacteria. The genes protect the germs from copper, which is increasingly used in the global fight against severe infections.

The Staphylococcus aureus bacterium – a leading cause of serious and life-threatening infections in the United States – is highly resistant to antibiotics. Some strains of S. aureus have newly acquired genes embedded in their genome in pieces of DNA called transposons. DNA can be transferred from one organism to another, and transposons help the acquired DNA rapidly become a permanent part of the recipient’s chromosome.

Transposons aid in the spread of genes that can give rise to bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and more likely to cause disease. The newly discovered genes are encoded within a transposon.

This process likely contributed to the recent North American epidemic of staph infections, according
to Jeffrey M. Boyd, study senior author and associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology in Rutgers’ School of Environmental and Biological Sciences.


Here’s the full story with an image: http://go.rutgers.edu/gjgfw45g

Here’s a link to the study: http://www.jbc.org/content/early/2019/01/17/jbc.RA118.004723.abstract

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle, Pharmaceutical Microbiology

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