Although scientists have known for centuries that many bacteria produce hydrogen sulfide (H2S) it was thought to be simply a toxic by-product of cellular activity. Now, researchers at NYU School of Medicine have discovered H2S in fact plays a major role in protecting bacteria from the effects of numerous different antibiotics.
In the study led by Evgeny Nudler, PhD, the Julie Wilson Anderson Professor of Biochemistry at NYU School of Medicine, researchers found evidence that H2S acts as a general defense mechanism against oxidative stress, the process through which many antibiotics kill bacteria.
This information provides the basis for developing new techniques to suppress this universal bacterial defense mechanism and make bacteria more susceptible to antibiotics at lower doses. It also paves the way for reversing antibiotic resistance in human pathogens such as Staphylococcus, Pseudomonas, E. coli, and many others.
The study's findings were published online on November 17 edition of Science.