Bacteria can disseminate antibiotic resistance genes with up to 10,000 times more efficiency than previously known

Researchers from the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM) and the University of Barcelona (UB) have revealed that “bacteria can remotely disseminate antibiotic resistance genes with up to 10,000 times greater efficiency than previously known.”

In the midst of a pandemic of COVID-19Antibiotic resistance continues to be “humanity’s greatest health problem. In fact, the problem is getting worse with the SARS-CoV-2, due to the massive use of antibiotics ”, indicates the UCM it’s a statement.

One of the greatest challenges against the worldwide spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria in all ecosystems, in man, animals and the environment, is “knowing how those genes are spread that give bacteria resistance to antibiotics.”

The research, published in the scientific journal ‘Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy’, reveals a “sophisticated mechanism that allows the packaging of antibiotic resistance genes in bacterial viruses, phages, for their remote transport” in order to convert sensitive to resistant bacteria.

The key is “the cooperation of bacterial viruses, phages, and antibiotic resistance genes. When these are found in fragments of DNA Called multicopy plasmids, phages hyperefficiently capture these resistance genes, and are able to remotely transport them to other bacteria, inject them, and make them resistant. ”

The professor and director of the UCM Antibiotic Resistance Unit, Bruno González Zorn, and a group of researchers from the UB, have detected that these “multicopy plasmids are carriers of the most dangerous antibiotic resistance genes so far, such as resistance to carbapenems or colistin”, among others.

This research will allow us to understand why resistances are spread so efficiently, in order to develop more effective strategies to fight them, concludes Complutense.

With information from .