Scientists discover how bacteria survive antibiotics

Scientists discover how bacteria survive antibiotics
Scientists discover how bacteria survive antibiotics | Courtesy of

A recent discovery of how bacteria survive antibiotic treatments may help researchers discover an improved treatment method for infectious diseases.

"Persisters pose a fundamental hurdle to the treatment of chronic and biofilm infections by bacterial and fungal pathogens," Jan Michiels of KU Leuven, co-senior study author, said. "Our findings suggest that combining antibiotic treatment with a therapy specifically targeting the novel persistence pathway we discovered would prove advantageous by enhancing patient responses to antibiotic treatment and by shortening antibiotic therapy duration."

More people die from infectious diseases than from any other cause. Unfortunately, treatment is not always effective because some bacterial cells survive antibiotic treatments and settle into the body again.

"This indicates that a common mechanism to produce persisters is active in different bacterial species," Michiels said. "Therefore, Obg could be a target for the development of novel therapeutics against infectious diseases."

These bacterial cells, called persisters, respond to antibiotic treatment and other adverse conditions by Obg, which is a molecular action that is crucial to major cellular processes in several species of bacteria.

"Answering these fundamental questions will pave the way for translational research that could ultimately lead to better therapies to combat bacterial infections,” Michiels said.

Further details are available in Molecular Cell, which was published on June 4, 2015.

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KU Leuven

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