We all are living in an era where for almost every disease or infection we are dependent on antibiotics. The extensive and inappropriate disposal of antibiotic is leading to this big problem of “Superbugs”.
To cope with this, recently scientist at Jefferson University, discovered a new way of targeting antibiotic resistance. The research is published in the Journal of Cell Systems.
The scientist shows how tRNA can play a crucial role in targeting antibiotic resistance among bacteria effectively.
Let’s understand the deep insights about the study done.
How Microbial System Defends Themselves from Antibiotics?
Most of the antibiotic-resistant microbes such as gram-negative bacteria like E.coli & Salmonella use a two-pronged strategy:
- Two Membrane – The microbes have two membranes to guard themselves rather than one. This makes difficult for antibiotics to move across the membrane easily.
- Toxin Pump – Most of the microbe has a mechanism of flushing out foreign residues. One such way is the use of toxin pumps embedded in the membranes. The pump expels out the antibiotics immediately, once identified by the bacterial system as foreign.
Thus, the major concerns for antibiotics are these pumps expelling them out. These pumps are made of certain proteins that are formed with the help of tRNA- a protein building machine. This made scientist to further investigate the role of tRNA in recruiting protein involved in membrane-embedded toxin pumps.
tRNA Uncovering the Secret of Targeting Antibiotic Resistance
tRNA or Transfer RNA is the building block of proteins and play a crucial role in many pathways involved in the daily functioning of cells. tRNA helps in the recruitment of proteins involved in toxin pump, but the necessary condition for this is proper methylation of tRNA at specific sites on its backbone.
If tRNA is not methylated at certain locations, it recruits defective proteins involved in toxic pumps as well as proteins involved in keeping the membrane stable & cohesive.
Looking at his the researchers performed an experiment where they genetically engineered bacterial cells synthesizing methylation deficient tRNA. The cells were later exposed to antibiotics to assess the impact. It was found that there was a significant decrease in the ability to develop antibiotic resistance.
This study gives a ray of hope to deal with antibiotic resistance by targeting tRNA methylation pathway. The subsequence weakening of membrane and toxin pumps can be used for easily flushing in the target drug to kill the bacteria.
With the discovery of drugs like penicillin in 1929 came hope for better disease fighting ability. But soon we saw the dawn of the antibiotic effectiveness due to the rise of resistance among microbe. This is not limited to penicillin only, instead, the antibacterial resistance for other antibiotics is also rising day by day. This issue is of great concern for every country and especially ours –India, where there are evident studies suggesting the presence of antibacterial resistance microbes. This discovery gives hope for the future to target and controls the rising menace of antibiotic resistance.