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Aging Peptidoglycans Control Outer Membranes in Bacteria

Scientists have uncovered a simple yet elegant mechanism that ensures Gram-negative bacteria maintain a tight control over both cell envelope layers. Researchers show that the age of peptidoglycans in the cell wall determines the inclusion of new outer membrane proteins (OMPs). Mature peptidoglycan at the polar ends of bacteria stop the growth of the outer membrane, whereas newborn peptidoglycan found at indentations where the bacteria divide, allow the greatest insertion of OMPs into the outer membrane.

CRISPR Immunity Evolves with Bacteriostatic Antibiotics

Researchers at the University of Exeter show that the effect of bacteriostatic antibiotics triggering CRISPR-Cas immunity results from slower phage replication inside the cell. This provides more time for the CRISPR-Cas defense system to acquire immunity and clear the phage infection. The research therefore identifies that the speed of phage replication is a crucial factor controlling the possibility for CRISPR-Cas systems to defend against viruses.

How Cell Wall-Wrecking Antibiotics Kill

A global team, including scientists from the University of Sheffield in the U.K., Xiamen University in China, Masaryk University in the Czech Republic, and McMaster University in Canada, showed how beta-lactam antibiotics such as penicillin, methicillin, and non-beta-lactam antibiotics such as vancomycin kill MRSA (methicillin resistant S. aureus). The study showed that cell wall-wrecking antibiotics create holes in the cell wall which enlarge as the cell grows, eventually killing the bacteria. The scientists plan to exploit the insights to create new therapeutics for antibiotic-resistant superbugs.

Antibiotic-Resistant Biofilm Survives Silver Bullet

New research from scientists at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) demonstrates long-term nanosilver treatment can increase the risk of recurrent infections of antibiotic-resistant pathogenic strains that form biofilms. The scientists show nanosilver kills 99.99% P. aeruginosa in a sample population but the 0.01% cells that persist resume normal growth once the nanoparticle treatment is stopped. The authors caution, since bacteria can adapt to nanoparticles effective regulations of the use of nanoparticles must be implemented, and the use of alternative microbials such as nanosilver should be preserved to fight untreatable infections, with growing antibiotic resistance.

Accidental Discovery Uncovers a Way to Clear Bacterial Superbugs

Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers have discovered that blocking a specific group of enzymes called caspases boosts the ability of immune cells, including neutrophils and macrophages, to fight MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and other dangerous skin infections, such as Streptococcus pyogenes and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, without the use of antibiotics. The serendipitous finding may lead to a solution for the growing threat of antibiotic resistance.

Emergence of Hospital Superbug Predates Antibiotics

A new study based on whole-genome sequencing of 2027 blood and stool samples from an array of hosts between 1936 and 2018, shows antibiotic resistant strains of the hospital superbug E. faecalis emerged before the widespread use of antibiotics.

New Antimicrobial Streptomyces Species Discovered in Ancient Irish Soil

Alkaline soil in the West Fermanagh scarplands of Northern Ireland, linked to traditional Irish folk medicine contains several species of antibiotic producing organisms, a new study published in MDPI Applied Microbiology, reports.