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Point mutation makes gonorrhea resistant to antibiotics easily, efficiently

Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the bacterium behind “the clap”, has several tools in its shed to help it evade antibiotics. One such tool is the multidrug efflux pump MtrC-MtrD-MtrE, which shuttles low concentrations of antimicrobials out of the cell before they can take their toxic toll.

In mBio this week, researchers describe a single point mutation that enables N. gonorrhoeae to dramatically increase production of this efflux pump without touching the promoters or repressors that normally control its manufacture. The mutation, which simply traded a T for a C, is located in a non-coding region, but it confers high levels of antimicrobial resistance nonetheless. How?

As Ohneck et al. explain, the sequence created by the mutation acts as a second, stronger transcription promoter for MtrC-MtrD-MtrE that results in a substantial increase in resistance to antimicrobials.

Click on the “source” link above to read more on mBio’s blog, mBiosphere.

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