Navigation Links
Spread of antibiotic resistance understood by unravelling bacterial secretion system

The system that allows the sharing of genetic material between bacteria and therefore the spread of antibiotic resistance has been uncovered by a team of scientists at Birkbeck, University of London and UCL.

The study, published today in Nature, reveals the mechanism of bacterial type IV secretion, which bacteria use to move substances across their cell wall. As type IV secretion can distribute genetic material between bacteria, notably antibiotic resistance genes, the mechanism is directly responsible for the spread of antibiotic resistance in hospital settings. It also plays a crucial role in secreting toxins in infections - causing ulcers, whooping cough, or severe forms of pneumonia such as Legionnaires' disease.

The work, led by Professor Waksman at the Institute of Structural and Molecular Biology (a joint Birkbeck/UCL Institute) and funded by the Wellcome Trust, revealed that the type IV secretion system differs substantially from other bacterial secretion systems, in both its molecular structure and the mechanism for secretion.

Professor Waksman said: "This work is a veritable tour de force. The entire complex is absolutely huge and its structure is unprecedented. It is the type of work which is ground-breaking and will provide an entirely new direction to the field. Next, we need to understand how bacteria use this structure to get a movie of how antibiotics resistance genes are moved around."

Using electron microscopy the team were able to reconstruct the system as observed in the bacteria E. coli. They saw that the mechanism consists of two separate complexes, one in the outer membrane of the cell, and the other in the inner membrane, which are connected by a stalk-like structure that crosses the periplasm the space between the two membranes. The complexes at both the inner and outer membranes form pores in the membrane, via which substances can be secreted.

Understanding the structure of the secretion system will help scientists uncover the mechanism by which it moves substances across the inner and outer membranes. It could eventually help scientists develop new tools for the genetic modification of human cells, as the bacteria could act as a carrier for genetic material, which could then be secreted into cells.

Professor Waksman said: "Understanding bacteria's secretion system could help design new compounds able to stop the secretion process, thereby stopping the spread of antibiotics resistance genes. Given that antibiotics resistance has become so widespread and represents a grave threat to human health, the work could have a considerable impact for future research in the field of antimicrobials."


Contact: Bryony Merritt
University College London

Related biology news :

1. Warmer temperatures fuel spread of malaria into higher elevations
2. 3D scans map widespread fish disease
3. MERS virus widespread in Saudi Arabian camels
4. TGen study uncovers possible genetic markers in breast cancer that spreads to the brain
5. £4 million to tackle spread of bacterial infections
6. Horse gaits controlled by genetic mutation spread by humans, new study reveals
7. New breast cancer stem cell findings explain how cancer spreads
8. Study shows Where Alzheimers starts and how it spreads
9. Spontaneous fusion with macrophages empowers cancer cells to spread
10. Antibiotic-resistant typhoid likely to spread despite drug control program
11. Crop-infecting virus forces aphids to spread disease
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Spread of antibiotic resistance understood by unravelling bacterial secretion system
(Date:10/29/2015)... YORK , Oct. 29, 2015 ... technology, announced a partnership with 2XU, a global ... to deliver a smart hat with advanced bio-sensing ... and other athletes to monitor key biometrics to ... the strategic partnership, the two companies will bring together ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... BERLIN, Germany , October 27, 2015 ... 2015. SMI,s Automated Semantic Gaze Mapping technology (ASGM) automatically ... SMI,s Eye Tracking Glasses , so that ... Suite BeGaze. --> Munich, Germany ... technology (ASGM) automatically maps data from mobile eye tracking ...
(Date:10/26/2015)... India , October 26, 2015 ... --> adds ... 2015 to 2021 as well as ... 2015-2019 research reports to its collection ... . --> ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015 Capricor Therapeutics, Inc. ... the discovery, development and commercialization of first-in-class therapeutics, today ... Officer, is scheduled to present at the 2015 Piper ... a.m. EST, at The Lotte New York Palace Hotel ... . --> . ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... VILLAGE, Nev. , Nov. 24, 2015  PDL BioPharma, ... John P. McLaughlin , the company,s president and chief executive ... Jaffray Healthcare Conference next week in New York ... will occur on Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 9:30 a.m. ... Presentations." Please connect to the website at least 15 minutes ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... Whitehouse Laboratories is pleased to announce that ... facility will be strictly dedicated to basic USP 61, USP 62 and USP 51 ... to have complete chemistry and micro testing performed by one supplier. Management ...
(Date:11/23/2015)... Women with a certain type of lung nodule ... risk of lung cancer than men with similar nodules, according ... annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North ... --> Lung nodules are small masses of tissue ... based on their appearance on CT. Solid nodules are dense, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: