A new study, in which the University of Birmingham participated, revealed that human gut bacteria present more than 6,000 antibiotic-resistant genes that allow the microorganisms to be immune to antibiotics. While that might be beneficial since the intestinal microbiota is living with us in perfect symbiosis and helps us digest and assimilate foods and nutrients, that might also be harmful as human gut might also present more bacteria than usual, which is not healthy at all.
Headed by the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA) in France, with the collaboration of Professor Willem van Schaik from the University of Birmingham, the new study presented a new method detect antibiotic-resistant genes in bacteria that inhabit human intestines.
The new method uses the three-dimensional structures shown by the well-known antibiotic resistance enzymes and compares them with the proteins housed by the gut bacteria.
Human Gut Bacteria Present Over 6,000 Antibiotic-Resistant Genes
“Unfortunately, these bacteria are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics, and we need to understand the processes that contribute to this development,” said Professor Willem van Schaik from the University of Birmingham. “By comparing the structures of known antibiotic resistance proteins to proteins that are produced by the bacteria of the human gut, we found thousands of new antibiotic resistance genes in the human gut, highlighting the immense diversity of antibiotic resistance genes in this environment,” he added.
“Most of these genes appeared to be present in bacteria that live in a harmless relationship with the human host, so may not be an immediate threat to human health. However, the continuing use of antibiotics may lead to these resistance genes being transferred to pathogenic bacteria, thereby further reducing the effectiveness of antibiotics in treating infections,” Professor Willem van Schaik concluded.
Accordingly, human gut bacteria present 6,00 antibiotic-resistant genes that make those microorganisms turn into superbugs that are immune to antibiotics treatment.