Tagged: Mutation

St. Jude Researchers Find Mutation That Bolsters Bacterial Infection

St. Jude Researchers pic

St. Jude Researchers
Image: stjude.org

Alexis Rudman serves as vice president of the National Learning Corporation in Syosset, New York. In her role, she oversees all aspects of the educational material creation process, from researching topics to revising completed texts. Outside of her professional life, Alexis Rudman is a longtime supporter of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Doctors at St. Jude Children’s Hospital recently discovered new information about antibiotic-resistant infections while treating an infant suffering from leukemia. Throughout the course of the patient’s care, researchers observed mutations that contributed to the prolonged infection by bolstering vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium.

The results of the study were recently published in the scientific journal mBio, documenting the journey of an infant patient whose white blood cells were completely eradicated by the leukemia treatment. The subsequent immuno-compromised state led to a prolonged blood stream infection that could not be wiped out via vancomycin antibiotic treatment. In studying why the infection resisted the drugs, researchers found a genetic mutation they believe was responsible.

According to the researchers, the mutation activated response pathways that normally are not activated. These pathways give bacteria the opportunity to survive antibiotic attacks through increased levels of alarmone. Once the patient’s white blood cells regenerated, the body was able to fight off the infection.