New insights into bacterial antibiotic resistance

May 30, 2023
Researchers from the University of Tsukuba have discovered the characteristics of proteins in certain bacteria that convey antibiotic resistance.

Antibiotic resistance (ARE) poses a global peril to human well-being, as various proteins enable pathogenic bacteria to cultivate heightened resistance against antibiotic medications. Presently, researchers at the University of Tsukuba have unraveled the attributes of specific proteins dubbed ARE-ABCFs, originating from three distinct bacteria. This revelation sheds light on their function and significance, which, when combined with other resistance mechanisms, bestow an exceptionally potent collective resistance.

Antibiotics frequently aim at the bacterial ribosome, the cellular apparatus responsible for protein synthesis. Consequently, bacteria devise strategies to shield the ribosome in order to resist antibiotics. The ARE-ABCF proteins are linked to ribosomal antibiotic resistance across different bacterial species. These proteins are triggered by an antibiotic assault, wherein the ribosome halts the protein translation process. Subsequently, the activation of ARE-ABCFs initiates the defense mechanisms, fortifying the bacteria against the antibiotic's effects.

Within the bacterial realm, a group known as "Clostridia" encompasses several significant human pathogens. Notably, Clostridium perfringens is responsible for food poisoning, while Clostridioides difficile exhibits formidable antibiotic resistance and can lead to persistent infections, diarrhea, and perilous "nosocomial" infections. These nosocomial infections are acquired by patients subsequent to their admission to hospitals or other healthcare facilities.

Furthermore, the research team demonstrated that CplR can synergistically cooperate with another mechanism of antibiotic resistance facilitated by a protein named "Erm." Erm performs the addition of a methyl group to the ribosomal RNA, which is a vital constituent of the ribosome. This methylation process imparts resistance to distinct classes of antibiotics.

University of Tsukuba release on Newswise