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Gut Bacteria Interactions Can Impact Efficacy of Antibiotics Against C. Difficile, Study Finds

Interspecies interactions between gut bacteria may alter the efficacy of antibiotics against Clostridioides difficile, according to a study appearing this week in PLOS Biology. This finding, the researchers note, may help guide treatment strategies. C. difficile can infect the human intestines, and it is known that gut microbiota can inhibit the bacterium's growth and ability to persist through a phenomenon known as colonization resistance. How the microbiota affects C. difficile antibiotic susceptibility, however, is not clear. To investigate, University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers used a bottom-up assembly of human gut communities to examine the contribution of interspecies interactions on the response of C. difficile to two antibiotics commonly used against the pathogen: vancomycin and metronidazole. They find that gut microbes rarely increase the pathogen's ability to grow at high antibiotic concentrations, but frequently enable it to grow at low antibiotic concentrations. In microbial communities with antibiotic-sensitive species that also compete with C. difficile, the pathogen's growth is enhanced in the presence of low concentrations of antibiotics due to competitive release, the study's authors write. The researchers also uncover a specific bacterial species that increases C. difficile's tolerance to metronidazole. The findings, they state, "highlight the need to consider biotic interactions in the design of future therapeutic treatments to eradicate pathogens.

The Scan

Machine Learning Helps ID Molecular Mechanisms of Pancreatic Islet Beta Cell Subtypes in Type 2 Diabetes

The approach helps overcome limitations of previous studies that had investigated the molecular mechanisms of pancreatic islet beta cells, the authors write in their Nature Genetics paper.

Culture-Based Methods, Shotgun Sequencing Reveal Transmission of Bifidobacterium Strains From Mothers to Infants

In a Nature Communications study, culture-based approaches along with shotgun sequencing give a better picture of the microbial strains transmitted from mothers to infants.

Microbial Communities Can Help Trees Adapt to Changing Climates

Tree seedlings that were inoculated with microbes from dry, warm, or cold sites could better survive drought, heat, and cold stress, according to a study in Science.

A Combination of Genetics and Environment Causes Cleft Lip

In a study published in Nature Communications, researchers investigate what combination of genetic and environmental factors come into play to cause cleft lip/palate.