Hints of altruism among bacteria | Science News

Support Science Journalism

Science News is a nonprofit.

Support us by subscribing now.


Hints of altruism among bacteria

E. coli defend against antibiotics with a little help from their friends

1:47pm, September 1, 2010

When it comes to fighting antibiotics, E. coli bacteria have each other’s backs.

Just a few drug-resistant bacteria can release a protective substance that makes a whole population resilient to drugs, a new study in the Sept. 2 Nature shows. The findings may lead to new ways of combating drug-resistant germs in humans.

“Antibiotic resistance is a global health issue and we want to understand how and why bacteria become resistant to a particular antibiotic,” says biophysicist Hyun Youk of MIT.

It turns out that when E. coli, a common gut microbe that occasionally causes illness, becomes resistant to an antibiotic, it releases a molecule call

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now.
Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content