The bacterial lifestyle alters the evolution of drug resistance

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The way bacteria live, both as independent cells and in a common biofilm, determines how antibiotic resistance evolves, which could lead to more personalized approaches to antimicrobial therapy and infection control.

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine the researchers repeatedly exposed the bacteria to the ciprofloxacin antibiotic to force a rapid evolution. As expected, the bacteria developed drug resistance, but surprisingly, their lifestyle influenced the specific adaptations that emerged, according to a study published today on eLife.
"What we are simulating in the laboratory is happening in nature, in the clinic, during the development of drug resistance", said the senior author Vaughn Cooper, Ph.D., director of Center of biology and evolutionary medicine to Pitt. "Our results show that biofilm growth shapes the way drug resistance evolves." According to lead study author Alfonso Santos-Lopez, Ph.D., postdoctoral researcher in Cooper's laboratory, this discovery could uncover vulnerabilities that could prove useful in treating drugs – resistant infections.

"Antibiotic resistance is one of our main medical problems," said Santos-Lopez. "We need to develop new treatments and an idea is to take advantage of what the field calls" collateral sensitivity. "When bacteria evolve resistance to a drug, it can expose a vulnerability to a different class of antibiotics that can kill. effectively the bacteria “.

Knowing these evolutionary push-and-pull relationships could eliminate speculation about antibiotic prescribing, Santos-Lopez said.

In this experiment, when the biofilm developed resistance to ciprofloxacin, it became defenseless against cephalosporins. The bacteria that float freely did not develop the same crack in their armor, even though they became 128 times more resistant to ciprofloxacin than the bacteria grown with biofilm.

According to the study by co-author Michelle Scribner, a doctoral student in Cooper's laboratory, these results highlight the importance of studying bacteria as they occur naturally in biofilms.

"Biofilms are a clinically more relevant lifestyle," said Scribner. "It is thought to be the main growth modality for bacteria that live in the body. Most infections are caused by biofilms on surfaces."

Other contributors include co-first author Christopher Marshall, Ph.D., now a Marquette Universityand Daniel Snyder, M.S., of Pitt.

/ Public publication. View in full Here.

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