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Additional info for Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria (Deadly Diseases and Epidemics)
Any mutation in these enzymes that leads to antibiotic resistance is also likely to cause some problems. Enzymes, for example, are normally exquisitely tuned to catalyze a chemical reaction, and any change is likely to make that catalysis less efficient. However, there is a huge advantage to antibiotic resistance in the presence of an antibiotic, so lower efficiency is a small price to pay for survival. C03_P3 44 3/6/08 8:45 AM Page 44 ANTIBIOTIC-RESISTANT BACTERIA reduce the negative effect of the initial mutation while still allowing the bacteria to fend off the antibiotic.
This D-ala-D-ala structure is normally essential to a bacterial cell wall: consider it analogous to 2” x 6” wall supports in the frame of a house. Imagine, as a homeowner, if you suddenly had to replace the 2” x 6” wood walls with steel beams. It would be a challenge to do that and keep the house intact during the process, yet this is essentially what happens when a bacterial cell becomes resistant to vancomycin. 4). That kind of drastic change requires a major realignment in the cell. To pull it off, resistant cells must acquire five new genes (these genes come from other bacteria that are already resistant to the drug).
Because of this waxy outer coating, mycobacteria are resistant to most antibiotics that kill Gram-positive or Gram-negative bacteria. C03_P3 3/6/08 8:45 AM Page 38 3 How Do Bacteria Resist Antibiotics? I don’t remember the details, but I’ve been told that back in 1960, as an infant, I had minor surgery in a local hospital. Following the surgery, I developed a severe Staphylococcus aureus infection, which started at the abdominal incision and spread to my backside. Penicillin was widely available, and it should have been a routine matter for a few doses to clear up the infection.
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