Key step in how bacteria acquire drug resistance revealed



The outer-membrane core complex is a key part of the bacterium. The credit is given to Amin et al.

The process thatbacteria use to share their genes has been imaged by researchers.

During conjugate,bacteria can exchange genetic information in the form of special pieces of DNA. Many illnesses are caused by thesebacteria that are resistant to treatment with common antibiotics.

Scientists can find ways to stop the process and reduce the spread of antimicrobial resistance with better understanding of conjugate.

Since the 1940s, the atomic details underlying the mechanism have been unknown. Researchers from Imperial College London and Queen Mary University of London have been studying a key part of the process for the first time.

The results are an important step forward in understanding howbacteria acquire drug resistance and how to stop them.

The findings set the stage for an acceleration of our understanding of gene transfer conferring antimicrobial resistance amongbacteria. The mechanistic details of gene transfer could provide us with targets that can be exploited to suppress antibiotic resistance.

The team looked at the E colibacteria. A type IV secretion system is used by an E. coli bacterium when it wants to initiate a conjugate with another bacterium.

Many types ofbacteria use the T4SS for a range of processes, including injecting toxic proteins into our own cells during infections or injecting toxins into rival cells to kill them when competing for resources.

It's not toxic proteins that are transferred, but segments of free-ranging DNA that confer an advantage tobacteria. Drug resistance to new pathogens can be spread by the transfer of these DNA segments.

The T4SS is made up of three parts. The outer-membrane core complex is the part of the T4SS that is anchored to the bacterium. A strand of the bacterium's DNA is sent out from this anchor.

The outer-membrane core complex is made up of two rings of proteins with very flexible connections, according to the images obtained using a technique called cryo-electron microscopy. Researchers believe that this structure helps with the extension and retraction of the pilus as it reaches out to the other bacterium.

The paper was written by Ms Himani Amin from the Department of Life Sciences. This will lead to a better understanding of the transfer of genes amongstbacteria and could lead to the development of preventative drugs.

The team wants to show scientists how the process could be disrupted to reduce the transfer of antimicrobial resistance.

The architecture of the outer-membrane core complex from a conjugative type IV secretion system was written by Himani Amin, Aravindan Ilangovan and Tiago R. D. Costa.

The architecture of the outer-membrane core complex is described in Nature Communications. There is a DOI titled " 10.1038/s41467-021-27178-8".

Nature Communications is a journal.

The key step in howbacteria acquire drug resistance was revealed on November 25.

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