Antibiotic resistance, technically antibiotic resistant bacteria, is major issue in medicine, and a big threat to prevention of bacterial infections in the future.  Antibiotic resistance occurs when an antibiotic has lost its ability to effectively control or kill bacterial growth; in other words, the bacteria are “resistant” and continue to multiply in the presence of therapeutic levels of an antibiotic.

Genetically, antibiotic resistance spreads through bacteria populations both “vertically,” when new generations inherit antibiotic resistance genes, and “horizontally,” when bacteria share or exchange sections of genetic material with other bacteria. Horizontal gene transfer can even occur between different bacterial species. Environmentally, antibiotic resistance spreads as bacteria themselves move from place to place; bacteria can travel via airplane, water and wind. People can pass the resistant bacteria to others; for example, by coughing or contact with unwashed hands.

Currently, there are a few bacterias that are multiresistance to the majority of antibiotics available on the market.

These include:

  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
  • Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci (VRE)
  • Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE).

Resistance can occure in two ways:

  1. Natural mutations occurring in the bacterial DNA
  2. Acquired mutations, by e.g. bacterias picking up antibiotic resistance genes from other microbes.

? Results + Conclusion

With the help of DNA-sequencing technologies researchers took a closer look at how the antibiotic resistance can change the “power” and characteristics of some bacteria.  Published in one of the most prestigious journals: Science Translation Medicine, researchers showed that antibiotics resistance enhances “fitness” and strength of these organisms.

Together, these findings forewarn that the fight against antibiotic resistance might be harder than we had anticipated.

? Reference

http://stm.sciencemag.org/content/7/297/297ra114