NIH advances understanding of defenses against antibiotic-resistant klebsiella bacteria

January 25, 2017, NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Klebsiella bacteria cause about 10 percent of all hospital-acquired infections in the United States. K. pneumoniae sequence type 258 (ST258) is one of the Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae organisms labeled an urgent threat by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This strain of bacteria is particularly concerning because it is resistant to most antibiotics and kills nearly half of people with bloodstream infections.

National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientists and their colleagues seeking alternatives to antibiotics report that an antibody-based therapy approach may be useful against ST258 bacteria. Studies of modified human blood samples showed that a component of the innate immune system called the complement system is pivotal to killing ST258. The complement system includes nine proteins (C1-9) that help protect against bacterial infections, a process aided by antibodies.

Their study determined that killing of ST258 corresponds with a portion of the complement system known as the membrane attack complex (C5b-C9), which contacts bacterial surfaces. Blood depleted of antibodies and/or the complement system had a significantly reduced ability to kill antibiotic-resistant ST258 bacteria.

The scientists, ultimately hoping to develop new tools to treat and prevent these infections, now plan to test a modified antibody against ST258 in laboratory blood and animal models. They also plan to learn more about the complement system in people with K. pneumoniae bloodstream infections. They note that ST258 bacteria reside harmlessly in most healthy people; infection is usually of significant concern only for those in healthcare settings suffering from co-existing conditions or diseases.

Explore further: Scientists track evolution of a superbug

More information: Frank R. DeLeo et al, Survival of carbapenem-resistant ST258in human blood, Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (2017). DOI: 10.1128/AAC.02533-16

Related Stories

Scientists track evolution of a superbug

March 17, 2014
Using genome sequencing, National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientists and their colleagues have tracked the evolution of the antibiotic-resistant bacterium Klebsiella pneumoniae sequence type 258 (ST258), an important agent ...

US woman dies of infection resistant to all 26 available antibiotics

January 13, 2017
A US woman has died from an infection that was resistant to all 26 available antibiotics, health officials said this week, raising new concerns about the rise of dangerous superbugs.

Study validates test for health care-acquired infections

September 2, 2016
A new study by the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) details the design and validation of a low-cost, rapid and highly accurate screening tool—known as KlebSeq—for potentially deadly healthcare-acquired ...

Resistance to antibiotics and to immune system are interconnected in bacteria

June 30, 2016
Antibiotics and the immune system are the two forces that cope with bacterial infections. Now, two studies from Isabel Gordo's laboratory, at Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC, Portugal), show for the first time that ...

Understanding drug-resistant superbugs

July 18, 2016
News reports reveal drug-resistant super bacteria identified as carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) have been found in the waters of Rio de Janeiro where the 2016 Olympics sailing events will be held.

Research on new, rapid screening test identifies potential therapies against drug-resistant bacteria

November 10, 2016
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), Clinical Center and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) have created a new way to ...

Recommended for you

Study reveals new therapeutic target for slowing the spread of flu virus

June 22, 2018
Influenza A (flu A) hijacks host proteins for viral RNA splicing and blocking these interactions caused replication of the virus to slow, according to new research published in Nature Communications by Kristin W. Lynch, Ph.D., ...

First ancient syphilis genomes decoded

June 21, 2018
An international research team, including scientists from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, the University of Tübingen, the National School of Anthropology and History in Mexico City, and the University ...

Rhesus macaque model offers route to study Zika brain pathology

June 21, 2018
Rhesus macaque monkeys infected in utero with Zika virus develop similar brain pathology to human infants, according to a report by researchers at the California National Primate Research Center and School of Veterinary Medicine ...

California Aedes mosquitoes capable of spreading Zika

June 21, 2018
Over the last five years, Zika virus has emerged as a significant global human health threat following outbreaks in South and Central America. Now, researchers reporting in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases have shown that ...

Breakthrough treatment for crippling jaw disease created

June 20, 2018
A first-ever tissue implant to safely treat a common jaw defect, known as temporomandibular joint dysfunction, has been successfully tested by UCI-led researchers in a large animal model, according to new findings.

New flu vaccine only a little better than traditional shot

June 20, 2018
A newer kind of flu vaccine only worked a little bit better in seniors this past winter than traditional shots, the government reported Wednesday.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.