Title: “Anti-evolvability drugs could slow antibiotic resistance in bacteria.”
Depiction of E. coli response to low doses of antibiotics causing sub-populations with different responses to emerge. Credit: John P Pribis
Publisher: Cell Press
Published: April 1st, 2019
Summary: Growing antibiotic resistance is a threat. Traditionally the focus is to develop new antibiotics. This article focuses on identifying a mechanism by which drug resistance forms and identify a drug that prevents the mechanism from developing antibiotic resistance. In this case researchers observed that low doses of ciprofloxacin (“DNA breaking” antibiotic) administered to E. coli caused a stress response in a fraction of the isolate population which resulted in high levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. Which in turn, induced error prone DNA repair. This particular stress response strategy relies on a sort of mutation gambling that results in the rapid evolution of new antibiotic resistance without risking the entire microbial population. ROS-reducing drugs exist and are approved by the FDA for other uses. Researchers exposed E. coli to low dose ciprofloxacin and ROS-reducing drug edaravone in tandem and successfully prevented the formation of new antibiotic resistance in their tested E. coli populations.
Connection: Class covered how antibiotics treat bacterial infection. Bacteria develop antibiotic resistance for a variety of reasons as discussed in lecture. Antibiotic resistance prevention we discussed fuocused mainly at prevention of resistance development. Mechanisms by which resistance forms were also discussed but this idea to inhibit resistance mechanism during antibiotic treatment is quite clever.
Critical analysis: ScienceDaily is a reputable and credible news source. This story directly cites the original journal article and states its content is edited for “style and length”. This sort of reporting is perfect for casual scientific reading. It makes reading easy unlike reading the original journal article while staying completely factual and referenced. The perfect middle ground between deciphering a scientific journal article and reading a very watered down interpretation of the article in a non specialty news publication.
Question: What other mechanisms do bacteria use to develop antibiotic resistance? How could the mechanism you thought of be disrupted?