Nav: Home

How competition and cooperation between bacteria shape antibiotic resistance

June 21, 2018

New computational simulations suggest that the effects of antibiotics on a bacterial community depend on whether neighboring species have competitive or cooperative relationships, as well as their spatial arrangement. Sylvie Estrela of Yale University and Sam Brown of the Georgia Institute of Technology present these findings in PLOS Computational Biology.

Bacteria living in close proximity may have competitive interactions, such as fighting for limited resources, or cooperative (mutualistic) interactions, such as one species producing a product that serves as food for the other. Previous research has investigated how competition impacts a bacterial community's response to antibiotics, but less is known about the potential role of mutualistic relationships.

To address this question, Estrela and Brown took a computational approach. They modified an existing model of bacterial growth so that it could be used to predict how competitive or mutualistic interactions between antibiotic-resistant and antibiotic-sensitive species might influence a two-species community's response to antibiotic treatment.

The simulations showed that, between two competing species, antibiotic treatment suppressed the sensitive species while favoring growth of the resistant species. However, in the context of a mutualistic relationship, hitting the sensitive species with antibiotics also suppressed the resistant species, due to their inter-dependency.

The researchers also found that the spatial arrangement of individual bacterial cells influenced their response to antibiotics. Some resistant species deploy detoxification strategies against antibiotics, and this can result in cross-protection of nearby sensitive cells. The simulation showed that such cross-protection is more effective among a mutualistic pair of sensitive and resistant species because mutualists tend to mix as they grow, while competing or non-interacting species tend to segregate.

"Too little is known about the ecology of microbial infections, especially what pathogens do and how they interact with their host's resident microbes," Estrela says. "We hope our results will help draw attention to the fact that the community ecological and spatial context in which antibiotics are applied matters for treatment success."

Next, the researchers will test their simulated predictions in the lab and use the results to refine the model, so they can test new ideas and generate new hypotheses.
-end-
In your coverage please use this URL to provide access to the freely available article in PLOS Computational Biology:

http://journals.plos.org/ploscompbiol/article?id=10.1371/journal.pcbi.1006179

Citation:

Estrela S, Brown SP (2018) Community interactions and spatial structure shape selection on antibiotic resistant lineages. PLoS Comput Biol 14(6): e1006179. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1006179

Image Credit: David Dorward, NIAID.

Image Link: https://plos.io/2HMmiit

Funding: Human Frontier Science Program (RGP0011/2014 to SPB; http://www.hfsp.org). The Simons Foundation (grant number 396001 to SPB; https://www.simonsfoundation.org/). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

PLOS

Related Antibiotics Articles:

Antibiotics: City dwellers and children take the most
City dwellers take more antibiotics than people in rural areas; children and the elderly use them more often than middle-aged people; the use of antibiotics decreases as education increases, but only in rich countries: These are three of the more striking trends identified by researchers of the NRW Forschungskolleg ''One Health and Urban Transformation'' at the University of Bonn.
Metals could be the link to new antibiotics
Compounds containing metals could hold the key to the next generation of antibiotics to combat the growing threat of global antibiotic resistance.
Antibiotics from the sea
The team led by Prof. Christian Jogler of Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, has succeeded in cultivating several dozen marine bacteria in the laboratory -- bacteria that had previously been paid little attention.
Antibiotics not necessary for most toothaches, according to new ADA guideline
The American Dental Association (ADA) announced today a new guideline indicating that in most cases, antibiotics are not recommended for toothaches.
Antibiotics with novel mechanism of action discovered
Many life-threatening bacteria are becoming increasingly resistant to existing antibiotics.
Resistance can spread even without the use of antibiotics
Antibiotic resistance does not spread only where and when antibiotics are used in large quantities, ETH researchers conclude from laboratory experiments.
Selective antibiotics following nature's example
Chemists from Konstanz develop selective agents to combat infectious diseases -- based on the structures of natural products
Antibiotics can inhibit skin lymphoma
New research from the LEO Foundation Skin Immunology Research Center at the University of Copenhagen shows, surprisingly, that antibiotics inhibit cancer in the skin in patients with rare type of lymphoma.
Antibiotics may treat endometriosis
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found that treating mice with an antibiotic reduces the size of lesions caused by endometriosis.
How antibiotics help spread resistance
Bacteria can become insensitive to antibiotics by picking up resistance genes from the environment.
More Antibiotics News and Antibiotics Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Climate Mindset
In the past few months, human beings have come together to fight a global threat. This hour, TED speakers explore how our response can be the catalyst to fight another global crisis: climate change. Guests include political strategist Tom Rivett-Carnac, diplomat Christiana Figueres, climate justice activist Xiye Bastida, and writer, illustrator, and artist Oliver Jeffers.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Speedy Beet
There are few musical moments more well-worn than the first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. But in this short, we find out that Beethoven might have made a last-ditch effort to keep his music from ever feeling familiar, to keep pushing his listeners to a kind of psychological limit. Big thanks to our Brooklyn Philharmonic musicians: Deborah Buck and Suzy Perelman on violin, Arash Amini on cello, and Ah Ling Neu on viola. And check out The First Four Notes, Matthew Guerrieri's book on Beethoven's Fifth. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.