Features | Partner Sites | Information | LinkXpress
Sign In
Demo Company

Soil Bacteria and Human Pathogens Share Multiple Antibiotic Resistance Genes

By BiotechDaily International staff writers
Posted on 12 Sep 2012
Researchers have used a high-throughput functional metagenomic approach to show that bacteria in the soil have swapped antibiotic-resistance genes with bacteria that cause disease in humans.

Investigators at Washington University School of Medicine (St. Louis, MO, USA) isolated bacteria from soil samples taken at various locations around the United States. Enzymes were used to cut DNA isolated from the soil bacteria into short segments that were randomly inserted into the genome of a strain of Escherichia coli that was vulnerable to antibiotics. Cultures of the E. coli with added soil bacteria genes were then challenged with different antibiotics. DNA was obtained from drug resistant E. coli cultures and analyzed.

The investigators used a high-throughput functional metagenomic approach in conjunction with a pipeline for the de novo assembly of short-read sequence data from functional selections (termed PARFuMS), to identify the antibiotic resistance genes that had been exchanged between environmental bacteria and clinical pathogens. They reported in the August 31, 2012, issue of the journal Science finding seven multidrug-resistant soil bacteria containing resistance cassettes against five classes of antibiotics (beta-lactams, aminoglycosides, amphenicols, sulfonamides, and tetracyclines) that had perfect nucleotide identity to genes from diverse human pathogens.

Some genes were found to be identical not only in the sections of the genes that code for proteins but also in nearby noncoding regions that regulate the genes’ activities. The lack of differences in the resistance genes identified in the study suggests that the transfers of the genes must have occurred fairly recently.

"We wanted to try to get a broader sense of how often and extensively antibiotic-resistance genes are shared between environmental bacteria and pathogens," said senior author Dr. Gautam Dantas, assistant professor of pathology and immunology at Washington University School of Medicine. "I suspect the soil is not a teeming reservoir of resistance genes. But if factory farms or medical clinics continue to release antibiotics into the environment, it may enrich that reservoir, potentially making resistance genes more accessible to infectious bacteria."

Related Links:
Washington University School of Medicine



view channel
Image: Micrograph showing immunofluorescence of skin differentiation markers for basal keratinocytes (Photo courtesy of Dr. Russ Carstens, University of Pennsylvania).

Alternate Splicing Proteins Critically Linked to Skin and Organ Development

Two proteins that regulate alternative splicing in epithelial cells have been linked to the proper development of the skin and protective layers that surround other organs in the body. Two steps are... Read more

Drug Discovery

view channel
Image: Endoscopic image of a bowel section known as the sigmoid colon afflicted with ulcerative colitis. The internal surface of the colon is blotchy and broken in places (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons).

Orally Delivered Curcumin-Loaded Microparticles Effectively Treat Mouse Model of Ulcerative Colitis

Microparticles (MPs) loaded with the efficient anti-inflammatory agent curcumin were found to effectively treat a mouse model of ulcerative colitis. Ulcerative colitis is a chronic relapsing disease... Read more

Lab Technologies

view channel

New Genomic Research Kit Simplifies Exome Studies

An exciting new tool is now available for biotech researchers working in the field of genomic analysis. The human exome is critical to our genetic make-up and is generally accepted as having the greatest influence on how the genetic blueprint is utilized. The exome is defined as all coding exons in the genome and is... Read more


view channel

Collaboration Agreement to Boost Discovery of Fully Human Antibodies for Therapeutic Use

The discovery of fully human antibodies for therapeutic use will be boosted by a recently announced collaboration between a major university research center and a dynamic biopharmaceutical development company. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Tarrytown, New York, USA) and The Experimental Therapeutics Institute (ETI)... Read more


17 Oct 2015 - 21 Oct 2015
25 Oct 2015 - 29 Oct 2015
16 Nov 2015 - 19 Nov 2015
Copyright © 2000-2015 Globetech Media. All rights reserved.