Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Some Bacteria Survive Antibiotics

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Some Bacteria Survive Antibiotics

Article excerpt

Researchers at the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) have discovered how some bacteria can survive antibiotic treatment by turning on resistance mechanisms when exposed to the drugs. The findings, published in the journal Molecular Cell, could lead to more effective antibiotics to treat a variety of infections.

"When patients are treated with antibiotics, some pathogenic microbes can turn on the genes that protect them from the action of the drug," says Alexander Mankin, professor and associate director of the UIC's Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology and lead investigator of the study. "We studied how bacteria can feel the presence of erythromycin and activate production of the resistance genes."

Erythromycin and newer macrolide antibiotics azithromycin and clarithromycin are often used to treat respiratory tract infections, as well as outbreaks of syphilis, acne, and gonorrhea. The drugs can be used by patients who are allergic to penicillin.

Macrolide antibiotics act upon the ribosomes, the protein-synthesizing factories of the cell. …

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