A lead to overcome resistance to antibiotics
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a common bacterium in the environment. It can however become a formidable pathogen causing fatal infections, especially in intubated patients, people suffering from cystic fibrosis or severe burns. The presence of certain metals in the natural or human environment of the bacterium makes it more dangerous and, in particular, resistant to antibiotics of last resort. A team of researchers has shown that a specific protein of P. aeruginosa, called Host factor q (Hfq), is essential for reacting to these metals and acquire these new properties. The results single out the Hfq protein as the Achilles heel of P. aeruginosa. Indeed, blocking its action could make this pathogen unable to adapt to a new environment and to resist to certain antibiotics.