Microbiology

Bacteria Acquiring Resistance from the Enemies

Researchers from the University of Basel have shown that some bacteria inject a toxic cocktail into their competitors causing cell lysis and death, then acquires the released genetic material containing drug resistance genes

Antibiotics and resistances have been around for millions of years. Bacteria have developed different abilities to defend themselves from enemies and eliminate competition. One of these defenses is Antibiotic resistance.

Antibiotic resistance is caused when bacteria become resistant to commonly used antibiotics and can be spread in the community or in hospital. resistant bacteria are more difficult to treat but this is not the end.

New research which took place at the University of Basel found out that bacteria can get resistance from their competitors.

According to the “cell report”, what bacteria do is they make their competitors burst out by injecting toxin in them and after that absorb their genetic information which makes them resistant to the antibiotic to which their competitors were.

Acinetobacter baumanni also known as Iraq germ is the most typical hospital germ. It is named like this because this bacteria caused severe wounds infection in American soldiers in Iraq which was difficult to treat because of multidrug resistance.

Every year, around, 480000 people develop multidrug resistance around the world which also interferes with the treatment of malaria and HIV.

In multiresistant bacteria, the pathogen becomes resistant to many antibiotics and chemotherapeutics agent. In MDR they inject toxic proteins in enemy bacteria with the help of secretion system. And absorb all the genetic material and reuse. This toxic protein is also called as effectors. After absorbing the genetic material the attacker becomes the new possessor and become resistant to the antibiotic for which the enemy was resistant. In this way, germ can multiply and spread largely.

In university, Researcher used Acinetobacter baylyi as their model organism which is a close relative of Acinetobacter baumanni and found five effectors that work in diverse ways like some on injecting toxic protein does not kill the bacterium while others attack bacteria by destroying cell envelope which in turns release ht e genetic material from them. They also found these effectors in pneumonia or cholera-causing agent.

The interesting fact is some bacteria have developed an acquired antidote called immunity proteins which do not allow a toxic protein to work on them hence they are saved from attackers.

“We have also identified the corresponding immunological proteins for the five effectors. For the attackers, it makes sense to produce not just a single poison protein, but a cocktail of various toxins with different modes of action », says Basler. “This increases the likelihood that the enemy can be successfully eliminated and in some cases, by the dissolution of the cell, and its DNA is available.”

Reference:
Peter D. Ringel, Di Hu, Marek Basler. The role of Type VI Secretion System Effectors in Target Cell Lysis and Subsequent Horizontal Gene Transfer.
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