New study shows how bacteria resists antibiotics

A research group from the University of Newcastle made a new discovery about how bacteria resist antibiotics. The new discovery confirms that bacteria are capable of structural change to avoid identification.

The resistance of bacteria to antibiotics, often referred to as “super bugs,” is one of the main reasons why many of today’s medicines for various types of infections are ineffective. It follows that the field of research related to how bacteria manage to defeat antibiotics or otherwise remain free is becoming increasingly important, and more and more research is being done in this regard.

This new study, published in Nature Communications, confirms that bacteria can change their structural form so that they are not detected by antibiotics injected into the human body. In particular, researchers at Errington’s laboratory have found that bacteria can lose their cell wall just to go unnoticed and continue to survive.

A method of protection that the same researchers have called the “L-shape switching,” which allows bacteria to move from a very correct form to a completely random form without a cell wall. Thus, they are no longer recognized by the antibiotic or even by the human body, which no longer attacks its own immune system.

Although they are actually weaker without external protection, most of these bacteria, having lost their “wall”, survive hiding in the body.

This leads the patient to a new infection. This structural change has been found in the laboratory in a variety of bacteria including Escherichia coli, Enterococcus, Enterobacter and Staphylococcus.


Sources & Recommended Reading:

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-12359-3

Anna Hill

I am based in Colorado and am an established freelance journalist, having contributed research and content to many publications within this state including Greeley Tribune and Boulder Daily Camera. At Biology Reporter I am responsible for overseeing the design of the website, proofreading, reaching out to people (when necessary), gathering information and occasionally also writing new stories.

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