Gene editing, CRISPR, might provide solution to viral antibiotic resistance

A gene editing system bacteria use to shield themselves from viruses has been used by MIT scientists as a sword to vanquish antibiotic resistance. Thus far, the scientists have used the gene editing system, called CRISPR, to improve survival in moth larvae infected with a harmful form of Escherichia coli. Next, they intend to explore its efficacy in mice.

Ultimately, the scientists, led by MIT’s Timothy Lu, M.D., Ph.D., hope that a more fully developed version of their CRISPR approach will treat infections or remove unwanted bacteria in human patients.

The CRISPR system devised by Lu’s team meddles with bacterial genes that confer antibiotic resistance. For example, in a newly published study, the system was used to target NDM-1 and SHV-18. NDM-1 is an enzyme that confers resistance to carbapenems and other beta-lactam antibiotics. SHV-18, a mutation in the bacterial chromosome, helps bacteria resist quinolone antibiotics. It is also a virulence factor in enterohemorrhagic E. coli.

The CRISPR system, the researchers found, was even capable of providing a kind of bonus: It selectively removed specific bacteria from diverse bacterial communities. To achieve this feat, the researchers engineered RNA-guided nucleases (RGNs) against different genetic signatures, enabling simultaneous targeting of a variety of virulence factors and resistance genes. This approach, the researchers suggested, raises the possibility of “microbiome editing”—and not just in antimicrobial applications.

Read the full, original story: CRISPR Snips Away Antibiotic Resistance

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Infographic: The evolutionary history of the COVID-19 coronavirus

Infographic: The evolutionary history of the COVID-19 coronavirus

Reuters analysed over 185,000 genome samples from the Global Initiative on Sharing All influenza Data (GISAID), the largest database of ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
glp menu logo outlined

Newsletter Subscription

Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend