A genetic disruption strategy developed by CU Boulder researchers effectively stymies the evolution of antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as E. coli, giving scientists a crucial leg up in the ongoing battle against deadly superbugs.
These multidrug-resistant pathogens—which adapt to current antibiotics faster than new ones can be created—infect nearly 2 million people and cause at least 23,000 deaths annually in the U.S., according to data from the Centers for Disease Control.
In an effort to develop a sustainable long-term solution, CU Boulder researchers created the Controlled Hindrance of Adaptation of OrganismS (CHAOS) approach, which uses CRISPR DNA editing techniques to modify multiple gene expressions within the bacteria cells, stunting the pathogen’s central processes and thwarting its ability to evolve defenses.
“We now have a way to cut off the evolutionary pathways of some of the nastiest bugs and potentially prevent future bugs from emerging at all,” said Peter Otoupal, lead author of the study and a doctoral researcher in CU Boulder’s Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering (CHBE).
The CHAOS research is the culmination of work that began in 2013, when Otoupal and his colleagues began searching for genes that could act as a cellular kill switch for E. coli. When the scientists tweaked one gene at a time, the bacteria could adapt and survive. But when they altered two or more genes at once, the cell got weaker.
“We saw that when we tweaked multiple gene expressions at the same time—even genes that would seemingly help the bacteria survive—the bacteria’s fitness dropped dramatically,” Otoupal said.
The CHAOS method takes advantage of this effect, pulling multiple genetic levers in order to build up stress on the bacterial cell and eventually trigger a cascading failure, leaving the bug more vulnerable to current treatments. The technique does not alter the bug’s DNA itself, only the expression of individual genes, similar to the way a coded message is rendered useless without the proper decryption.
“You can think of it in terms of a series of escalating annoyances to the cell that eventually cause it to weaken,” said Anushree Chatterjee, senior author of the study and an assistant professor in CHBE. “This method offers tremendous potential to create more effective combinatorial approaches.”
Although E. coli has nearly 4,000 individual genes, the exact gene modification sequence appears to matter less than the sheer number of genes that are disrupted, Otoupal said. Still, the researchers plan to continue optimizing the CHAOS method to seek out the most efficient disruptions.“Diseases are very dynamic, so we need to design smarter therapies that can gain control over their rapid adaptation rates,” Chatterjee said. “The emphasis in our lab is demonstrating the efficacy of these methods and then finding ways to translate the technology to modern clinical settings.”
“In the past, nobody really considered that it might be possible to slow down evolution,” Otoupal said. “But like anything else, evolution has rules and we’re starting to learn how to use them to our advantage.”
Learn more: How to stop an antibiotic-resistant superbug
The Latest on: Genetic disruption
via Google News
The Latest on: Genetic disruption
- Pacific Biosciences and Invitae to Develop Ultra-High-Throughput Clinical Whole Genome Sequencing Platformon January 13, 2021 at 5:27 am
(GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- (Nasdaq: PACB), a leading provider of high-quality, long-read sequencing platforms, today announced a multi-year collaboration with Invitae Corporation (NYSE: NVTA), a leading ...
- Passage Bio Announces Plan to Deliver on Multiple Meaningful Catalysts in 2021on January 12, 2021 at 1:51 am
(GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Passage Bio, Inc. (Nasdaq: PASG), a genetic medicines company focused on developing transformative therapies for rare, monogenic central nervous system (CNS) disorders, today ...
- bluebird bio to Separate Oncology Business into Independent Companyon January 11, 2021 at 9:48 pm
Inc. (Nasdaq: BLUE) announced its intent to separate its severe genetic disease and oncology businesses into differentiated and ...
- Cancer Therapy Seen to Protect Blood-brain Barrier, Ease MS in Mouse Modelon January 11, 2021 at 10:02 am
Imatinib, a cancer treatment, stopped an injury response mechanism of the central nervous system (CNS) from activating, damage to which is a hallmark of multiple sclerosis (MS), an early study ...
- Genetic Testing Services Market is expected to generate $78.4 Billion by 2027on January 5, 2021 at 4:00 pm
by generating supply chain disruption, and by its financial impact on firms and financial markets. Therefore, this report covers COVID-19 outbreak impact analysis on the Genetic Testing Services ...
- Aro Biotherapeutics Announces $88 Million Series A Financing to Advance Development of Centyrin-Targeted Genetic Medicineson January 5, 2021 at 6:27 am
Aro Biotherapeutics, a biotechnology company pioneering the development of tissue-targeted genetic medicines, today announced the closing of an $88 million Series A financing. Northpond Ventures and ...
- 4 Companies At The Center Of The Telemedicine And Digital Health Revolutionon December 21, 2020 at 11:43 am
Genetic data has become increasingly valuable ... The COVID-19 pandemic finally put this disruption in motion. As illustrated by the compelling products and services mentioned above, solutions ...
- Ivory From Shipwreck Reveals Elephant Slaughter During Spice Tradeon December 17, 2020 at 8:00 am
The researchers extracted genetic material from cells preserved ... “These elephants were likely experiencing considerable disruption to their movements, presumably because they were seeking ...
- New genetic vulnerability found in upwards of a third of all cancerson December 16, 2020 at 4:32 am
Such genetic dependencies are attractive targets ... they found that cancer cells lacking SMAD4 and VSP4B were vulnerable to VPS4A disruption. "This is another great example of the power the ...
via Bing News