They do not want that DNA, because they break it up
In his article, Mohammed Bakkali argues that, in reality, bacteria do not look for DNA to takeup (they appear not to 'want' this DNA, since they are constantly degrading it; in other words, breaking it up) and that this uptake is a chance event and the sub-product of a type of bacterial motility that is part of its response to the stress that the bacteria may be subjected to.
Therefore,our current indiscriminate use of antibiotics "not only selects the resistant bacteria, but also means that the bacteria take up more DNA, due to their increased motility in response to the stress that the antibiotic subjects them to". The result is that the stress caused by the antibiotic itself induces the uptake of genetic material that can bring about resistance to the antibiotic bybacteria that, otherwise, would not have taken up that DNA nor become resistant to the antibiotic. Furthermore, this effect is strengthened by its lack of specificity, since it occurs both in the target pathogen and in other bacteria.
The UGR researcher states that, when a bacterium takes up DNA from another antibiotic-resistantone (and which could have died due to another environmental factor), the bacterium that takes it up becomes resistant to that antibiotic. "Thus, the bacteria can go on adding to their arsenal of resistance to antibiotics and end up being resistant to a wide range of them, such as is the case of the multi-resistant strain of a staphylococcus, called Staphylococcus aurius, which creates havoc in many operating theatres.
|Contact: Mohammed Bakkali|
University of Granada