source Ars Newswire title Candida: a bacterial virus with no tail article The world is bracing for the emergence of a bacterial strain that is resistant to most known antibiotics and can survive for months without food or water, as well as being a threat to wildlife and humans.
The new study, published today in Nature, describes Candida isolates that are resistant to multiple drugs, including those used to treat the common cold and respiratory infections, as it tries to understand how these bacteria become resistant.
“There is no doubt that the bacteria is highly adaptive,” says John M. Meeks, a microbial geneticist at Columbia University who was not involved in the study.
“We think of this as a very novel evolutionary phenomenon.
The bacteria is not like a plant or an animal that grows and adapts.
It is very novel.”
The study was conducted by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) and led by a group at Columbia.
The researchers sequenced the genomes of the strains of Candida that are known to cause the common and respiratory diseases and identified genetic mutations that make them resistant to the commonly used antibiotics rifampicin, cefuroxime and tetracycline.
The team also used a tool called BLAST (Blast ID Select Tool) to identify mutations that occur when the bacteria has a different DNA sequence that causes a different reaction to the drugs.
The researchers also looked for mutations in the Candida genome that cause other traits, such as the production of the protein that helps the bacteria survive and multiply.
The team has now identified three mutations that are responsible for some of the resistance, which they call a single mutation, called a ‘mutant.’
They also identified a mutation that appears to be critical to the development of Candidactium, the new strain.
“These mutations are very specific, but not universal,” Meeks says.
“It is possible that we could get these mutations from a single individual that gets sick with a Candida infection and then gets sick again.”
But there is also a possibility that these mutations are not caused by Candida, or that there is another genetic element that is making these resistant strains resistant.
The next step in the research is to look for the genes that make the resistant Candida cells grow faster.
“Our next step is to find genes that allow these cells to produce more proteins, and that would be really interesting,” Mews says.
The scientists have also begun to look at other bacteria that are not part of the group of strains that cause common cold, including bacteria that can grow in the intestine of humans and other animals.
“This is a very interesting and exciting study.
We’re very excited about the discovery of these genes, and we hope that other researchers will also do the same,” Mees says.
He adds that Candida may be particularly important to people living with chronic illness.
“Candida is very important for people who have chronic illnesses, and it’s especially important for the people with chronic illnesses because it is associated with more of the chronic conditions that people with these conditions are prone to,” he says.
“People with these chronic conditions have been getting sick for years.
If we could make these cells more efficient and less prone to the disease, we might have a lot more options.”
The researchers have also found that the Candidacactium strain is resistant against two of the most commonly used antimicrobial drugs, ciprofloxacin and rifabutin.
In addition, the Candide strains that have not been isolated so far are resistant against another antibiotic, azithromycin, as an adjuvant to rifapicin.
The results also show that these resistant Candidacs are able to survive in the environment and are resistant even to antibiotics, even when administered in the same doses.
“The fact that they are resistant at low doses is really interesting, because it shows that they can survive in different environments, even in very high concentrations,” Mears says.
“It is very interesting, and I think it is really exciting.”
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Originally published on Space.com.