Melting Bacteria to Break Down Antibiotic Resistance

Antibiotic Resistance is the reason due to which bacteria are spreading worldwide without any control which lead to a strong need for creating new technologies which can help to study bacteria.

A new research done by EMBL researchers studied the melting protein behavior in the bacteria using existing techniques which is thermal proteome profiling.

Thermal protein profiling (TPP) is used to compare the melting behavior of all protein present in a cell or organism before or after keeping it in a disturbed environment like when administered with the drug. This technique can also help to study the protein’s structure and activity in its living state.

Actually, E.coli bacteria can function within a temperature at 42-45°C under which human body stops functioning. Researchers found that all the proteins do not behave in the same manner in bacteria which means that middle cells are less tolerant of heat as compare to those present at the surface.

“Surprisingly, a protein’s location is more predictive for its melting behavior than which other proteins it interacts with.”

Hence this technique let researchers examine the effect of drugs on bacteria. The interaction between protein and drug increases the tolerance of bacteria to heat which lead to a higher melting point. Hence when drug-treated cells are compared with untreated ones on the basis of heat tolerance, targets for antimicrobial drugs can be found.

With this study, researchers can decode the mystery that how cells surrender to the drug or try to resist or avoid their action.

“In one particular case, we were able to elucidate a novel drug resistance mechanism,” says André Mateus. “Cells use proteins to pump antibiotics out of the cell. After genetically removing one such efflux pump from their chromosome, bacteria became more sensitive to many drugs but curiously more resistant to one specific antibiotic called aztreonam. Using TPP, we found that this was due to dramatically reduced levels of a specific porin – a protein that acts as a pore – used by aztreonam to enter the cell.”

TPP is really helpful in studying bacteria as it allows to study the effects of stress on thousands of individual proteins in a short span of time. Moreover, some of the insight like changes in proteins activity cannot be studied with other conventional techniques.


The BioScientist

The BioScientist is a platform for biological and biomedical thinker which covers the innovative technologies and scientific discoveries in the field of Biosciences.

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