Researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston have made a breakthrough in understanding how some antibiotic-resistant bacteria develop that resistance. The research was published in mBio journal.
Food safety advocates are concerned about the increase of antibiotic-resistant bacteria on the foods we buy, especially raw meat. Many factory-farmed animals are fed sub-therapeutic doses of antibiotics to prevent disease and help the animal gain weight. Studies have shown that the numbers of antibiotic-resistant bacteria are increasing, and many bacteria are becoming resistant to more than one antibiotic.
Scientists observed how bacteria responded to fluorescent labeled daptomycin, one of the “last resort” antibiotics in use today. The cells divert the antibiotic from the septum and trap it in membrane regions where it becomes ineffective. The cell membrane actually changes during this process due to remodeling of the phospholipids.
The study was conducted on multidrug-resistant enterococci, but may be applied to other drug-resistant bacteria. Hopefully this research will lead to development of new antibiotics that target the resistance pathway and may impair the cell membrane response to antibiotics.