Sunday, 15 December 2019

Exploiting collateral sensitivity in bacteria leads to new treatments

Researchers have provided new insight into a mechanism behind the evolution of antibiotic resistance in a type of bacterium that causes severe infections in humans.

Their findings in the multidrug-resistant bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa suggest the strategy could be exploited to develop new and sustainable antibiotic treatments.
In this study, Barbosa and his colleagues looked into an evolutionary trade-off called collateral sensitivity in P. aeruginosa. Collateral sensitivity occurs when bacteria evolve resistance to one drug but develop increased sensitivity to another drug at the same time.

Their experiments revealed that P. aeruginosa produces distinct cases of evolved collateral sensitivities in response to different drugs. Some of these are generally stable over time, leading to increased population extinction or at least the absence of the evolution of multidrug resistance. The team also found that the effectiveness of drugs was determined by the order in which they were used, the evolutionary costs for the bacteria when evolving antibiotic resistance, and the underlying genetic mechanisms.


Camilo Barbosa, Roderich Römhild, Philip Rosenstiel, Hinrich Schulenburg. Evolutionary stability of collateral sensitivity to antibiotics in the model pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. eLife, 2019; 8 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.51481

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle, Pharmaceutical Microbiology

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