Iowa researchers have identified a protein that makes common food borne bacteria resistant to antibiotics.
The team led by Dr. Qijing Zhang has found Mfd, a protein involved in DNA transcription and repair that plays an important role in the development of fluoroquinolone antibiotic resistance in Campylobacter, a bacterial pathogen associated with food poisoning in humans.
Previous studies have revealed that Campylobacter is highly mutable to antibiotic treatment and the number of fluoroquinolone-resistant Campylobacter is greatly increased in many regions of the world.
But it has not been clear why Campylobacter is able to mutate at such a high frequency.
With the help of various molecular tools, the research team from the College of Veterinary Medicine found that Campylobacter increases the production of Mfd in the presence of a fluoroquinolone antibiotic.
Elimination of Mfd from Campylobacter resulted in 100-fold reduction in the rate of emergence of mutants resistant to fluoroquinolones.
Without Mfd, the development of fluoroquinolone-resistant Campylobacter under antibiotic treatment was significantly reduced.
Te study is published in June 6th open-access journal PLoS Pathogens.