Adaptive antibiotic resistance is a transient metabolic adaptation of bacteria limiting their sensitivity to low, progressively increased, concentrations of antibiotics. Unlike innate and acquired resistance, adaptive resistance is dependent on the presence of antibiotics, and it disappears when the triggering factor is removed. Low concentrations of antibiotics are largely diffused in natural environments, in the food industry or in certain body compartments of humans when used therapeutically, or in animals when used for growth promotion. However, molecular mechanisms underlying this phenomenon are still poorly characterized. Here, we present experiments suggesting that epigenetic modifications, triggered by low concentrations of ampicillin, gentamicin, and ciprofloxacin, may modulate the sensitivity of bacteria to antibiotics. The epigenetic modifications we observed were paralleled by modifications of the expression pattern of many genes, including some of those that have been found mutated in strains with permanent antibiotic resistance. As the use of low concentrations of antibiotics is spreading in different contexts, our findings may suggest new targets and strategies to avoid adaptive antibiotic resistance. This might be very important as, in the long run, this transient adaptation may increase the chance, allowing the survival and the flourishing of bacteria populations, of the onset of mutations leading to stable resistance.

Epigenetic-Based Regulation of Transcriptome in Escherichia coli Adaptive Antibiotic Resistance

D’Aquila P;De Rango F;Paparazzo E;Passarino G
;
Bellizzi D
2023-01-01

Abstract

Adaptive antibiotic resistance is a transient metabolic adaptation of bacteria limiting their sensitivity to low, progressively increased, concentrations of antibiotics. Unlike innate and acquired resistance, adaptive resistance is dependent on the presence of antibiotics, and it disappears when the triggering factor is removed. Low concentrations of antibiotics are largely diffused in natural environments, in the food industry or in certain body compartments of humans when used therapeutically, or in animals when used for growth promotion. However, molecular mechanisms underlying this phenomenon are still poorly characterized. Here, we present experiments suggesting that epigenetic modifications, triggered by low concentrations of ampicillin, gentamicin, and ciprofloxacin, may modulate the sensitivity of bacteria to antibiotics. The epigenetic modifications we observed were paralleled by modifications of the expression pattern of many genes, including some of those that have been found mutated in strains with permanent antibiotic resistance. As the use of low concentrations of antibiotics is spreading in different contexts, our findings may suggest new targets and strategies to avoid adaptive antibiotic resistance. This might be very important as, in the long run, this transient adaptation may increase the chance, allowing the survival and the flourishing of bacteria populations, of the onset of mutations leading to stable resistance.
2023
DNA methylation
Escherichia coli
RNA methylation
transcriptome
antibiotic resistance
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11770/349718
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