AUG 18, 2020 4:18 PM PDT

Researchers Discover Mechanism to Prevent Antibiotic Resistance

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

Researchers from the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute have discovered a method used by bacteria to develop antibiotic resistance and evade immune responses. The research may point to new ways to treat antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections.  

In the study, the researchers found that bacteria release toxins that disarm the mitochondria of immune cells. These immune cells then sense their mitochondria are no longer able to work during infection, something that then triggers apoptosis, also known as cell death. 

Ironically, first author of the study, Dr. Pankaj Deo, says that, contrary to popular belief, it is the activation of factors within the host's cell that leads to its death as opposed to the bacterial toxins themselves. To test this theory, however, the researchers then decided to target these apoptotic factors in immune cells in mouse models to see whether they could stop the process in its tracks. 

In doing so, they were able to reduce inflammation in mice, which in turn went on to improve their health outcomes. Although they focused on just three bacterial pathogens (including the deadly Pseudomonas aeruginosa, found in hospitals and is known to be resistant to multiple antibiotics), the researchers say that their findings could also be applied to other species of bacteria.

"What scientists have thought before is that when endotoxins (part of the cell wall of Gram-negative bacteria) are released by bacteria, they induce an inflammatory type of programmed cell death called pyroptosis in immune cells." says Dr. Deo. 

"We've found that the pathogenic bacteria use a similar mechanism to release additional toxins. They kill immune cells by releasing small surface structures called outer membrane vesicles—packages of toxins that target mitochondria. The mitochondria are disarmed, become dysfunctional then die according to apoptosis or cellular suicide."

The researchers now aim to investigate the potential of existing drugs that target the apoptotic response to see if they can be repurposed for bacterial infections. 

 

Sources: PhysNature 

 

About the Author
  • Annie Lennon is a writer whose work also appears in Medical News Today, Psych Central, Psychology Today, and other outlets. When she's not writing, she is COO of Xeurix, an HR startup that assesses jobfit from gamified workplace simulations.
You May Also Like
JUL 12, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Testosterone Supplements Reduce Heart Attack and Stroke Risk
JUL 12, 2021
Testosterone Supplements Reduce Heart Attack and Stroke Risk
Taking testosterone supplements significantly reduces risk of heart attack and stroke among men with low levels of the h ...
JUL 16, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Machine Learning Ranks Cancer Drugs by Efficacy
JUL 16, 2021
Machine Learning Ranks Cancer Drugs by Efficacy
A machine learning algorithm developed by researchers at the Queen Mary University of London in the UK can rank cancer d ...
JUL 23, 2021
Cancer
Repurposed Antibiotics Show Promise Against Skin Cancer
JUL 23, 2021
Repurposed Antibiotics Show Promise Against Skin Cancer
In experiments with mice, researchers from the Netherlands have found that some antibiotics may be effective in tre ...
SEP 14, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
A novel drug that targets the removal of pathogenic antibodies in myasthenia gravis
SEP 14, 2021
A novel drug that targets the removal of pathogenic antibodies in myasthenia gravis
Myasthenia gravis is a chronic autoimmune disorder characterized by muscle weakness and fatigue. The disorder leads to a ...
SEP 23, 2021
Technology
New Glaucoma Drainage Implant Safe And Effective At Reducing Intraocular Pressure
SEP 23, 2021
New Glaucoma Drainage Implant Safe And Effective At Reducing Intraocular Pressure
Glaucoma, which affects an estimated 57 million people worldwide, is an eye condition caused by too much pressure around ...
SEP 27, 2021
Microbiology
Rift Valley Fever's Infectious Secret is Revealed
SEP 27, 2021
Rift Valley Fever's Infectious Secret is Revealed
Rift Valley fever virus is carried by mosquitoes, and when it's passed to livestock including cattle, goats, and sheep, ...
Loading Comments...