Computer simulations aid understanding of bacterial resistance against commonly used antibiotics

Jul 21, 2011

A recent study into the interactions between aminoglycoside antibiotics and their target site in bacteria used computer simulations to elucidate this mechanism and thereby suggest drug modifications.

In the article, which will be published on July 21st in the open-access journal , researchers from University of Warsaw, Poland, and University of California San Diego, USA, describe their study of the physical basis of one mechanism - mutations of the antibiotic target site, namely RNA of the bacterial ribosome. They performed simulations and observed changes in the interaction between the antibiotic and the target site when different mutations were introduced.

In hospitals throughout the world, aminoglycosidic antibiotics are used to combat even the most severe bacterial infections, being very successful especially against tuberculosis and plague. However, the continuous emergence of resistant bacteria has created an urgent need to improve these antibiotics. Previous experiments on bacteria have shown that specific point mutations in the bacterial confer high resistance against aminoglycosides. However, the physico-chemical mechanism underlying this effect has not been known. Using computer simulations the researchers explained how various mutations in this specific RNA fragment influence its dynamics and lead to resistance.

Bacteria have developed other ways of gaining resistance, not just through mutations, and further studies are underway. The authors are now investigating the resistance mechanism by which actively modify and neutralize aminoglycosidic antibiotics. These molecular modeling studies together with experiments could help to design even better aminoglycoside derivatives in the future.

Explore further: The 'intraterrestrials': New viruses discovered in ocean depths

More information: Romanowska J, McCammon JA, Trylska J (2011) Understanding the Origins of Bacterial Resistance to Aminoglycosides through Molecular Dynamics Mutational Study of the Ribosomal A-Site. PLoS Comput Biol 7(7): e1002099. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002099

Related Stories

The structure of resistance

Feb 22, 2008

A team of scientists from the University Paris Descartes has solved the structure of two proteins that allow bacteria to gain resistance to multiple types of antibiotics, according to a report in EMBO reports this month. ...

Recommended for you

Deciphering the origins of cell behavior

11 hours ago

Researchers at the Mechanobiology Institute, National University of Singapore, have made significant advances in our understanding of cellular biology; providing evidence that the inherent 'handedness' of ...

Researchers clarify how DNA damage signaling works

14 hours ago

The DNA molecule is chemically unstable, giving rise to DNA lesions of various kinds. That is why DNA damage detection, signaling and repair, collectively known as the DNA damage response, are needed. The ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.