ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE

How bacteria develop resistance

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Science  02 Jan 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6217, pp. 39-40
DOI: 10.1126/science.347.6217.39-c

E. coli form filaments in microhabitats after antibiotic exposure

PHOTO: BOS ET AL. PNAS (9 DECEMBER 2014) © 2014 NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES

Bacteria can develop resistance to antibiotics very rapidly, and understanding how might help to combat emerging antibiotic-resistant, disease-causing strains. Bos et al. studied the process in Escherichia coli exposed to low levels of the antibiotic ciprofloxacin and found that this caused the rod-shaped bacteria to transiently form filaments. Resistant cells then budded off from the tips of the antibiotic-sensitive filaments. Each filament contained multiple E. coli chromosomes, which because of the antibiotic stress, mutated at a greatly increased rate. Local relief of the antibiotic stress allowed cell division to recommence, generating the newly resistant cells.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 10.1073/pnas.1420702111 (2014).

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