Key discoveries Offer Significant Hope of Reversing Antibiotic Resistance

Source: University of Bristol

Summary: Two recent studies gave a significant hope in the battle against antibiotic resistance and reversing it.

Resistance to antibiotics is becoming increasingly widespread and threatens to weaken the healthcare systems across the globe. The most commonly prescribed antibiotics in the world are the βlactams such as penicillins, cephalosporins and carbapenems. According to the two recent studies led by the University of Bristol provides a hope to fight the battle against antibiotic resistance and reverse it. The findings were published in two different journals – Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy;  Molecular Microbiology.

Antibiotic Resistance Reversal

Molecular micro graphical abstract. Credit: Calvopina et al.

In the first paper, the relative importance of two mechanisms linked to β-lactam antibiotic resistance is defined. In one mechanism, bacteria restrict the entry of antibiotics into the cell and in the other mechanism, bacteria produce an enzyme (β-lactamase) which destroys any antibiotic that gets into the cell. Based on these findings, Bristol researchers in partnership with researchers at University of Oxford and University of Leeds, in the second paper, they described the effectiveness of 2 types of -lactamase enzyme inhibitor in a bacterium which is highly resistant to common antibiotics.

Dr. Matthew Avison, the senior author said, “Our bacteriology research has further demonstrated that -lactamases are the real “Achilles heel” of antibiotic resistance in bacteria that kill thousands of people in the UK every year” and further added, “This is an exciting time for researchers studying β-lactamase inhibitors. At the risk of sounding like King Canute, it is the first time for a decade that there is some genuine positivity about our ability to turn back the rising tide of β-lactam antibiotic resistance”.

More Information:

Juan-Carlos Jiménez-Castellanos et al, “Envelope proteome changes driven by RamA overproduction in Klebsiella pneumoniae that enhance acquired β-lactam resistance”, Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (2017). DOI: 10.1093/jac/dkx345

Karina Calvopiña et al. Structural/mechanistic insights into the efficacy of nonclassical β-lactamase inhibitors against extensively drug resistant Stenotrophomonas maltophilia clinical isolates, Molecular Microbiology (2017). DOI: 10.1111/mmi.13831


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