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New Study Reveals History Of The Natural Antibiotic Production And Resistance

A study of the McMaster University has unearthed new details about the historical evolutionary past of both the antibiotic production and resistance and dates their co-emergence way back from 350 to 500 million years ago.

This study is the first to put antibiotic biosynthesis and resistance into an evolutionary context. The findings will help to guide the more extended discovery of new antibiotics and alternative antibiotic options, which are medicines that are vitally needed, given the current global risk of antimicrobial resistance.

The study was published in Nature Microbiology.

The findings are of serious interest, mentioned Gerry Wright, senior author, and professor of the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences at McMaster. He’s the director of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute, for Infectious Disease Research and the newly established David Braley Centre for Antibiotic Discovery.

The study reveals several implications in how we could potentially manage antibiotic use and discover new drugs for antimicrobial infections.

The team extracted this history by first figuring out the genome sequences encoding all the vital genetic programs for production of the glycopeptide antibiotics in a group of bacteria called Actinobacteria. Glycopeptides embody vancomycin and teicoplanin, vital for treating any bacterial infections.

Researchers then planned the changes in these genetic packages over time,  disclosing that the precursors for genes responsible for antibiotic production date long back to over 1 billion years, resistance is up to date with the production of the first ancestors of vancomycin-like drugs, dating back, 350 to 500 million years.

The outcomes uncovered in this study offers a useful lens using which, it can consider the current antibiotic crisis, stated Nicholas Waglechner, first author and Ph.D. candidate in the Gerry Wright lab.