Proved: Bacteria sacrifice themselves to protect the colony from antibiotics

Despite its tiny size, the bacteriaincredibly cunning. To protect themselves and their colony from exposure to antibiotics, they can wait out the danger of being dormant, or develop genetic resistance to drugs. Researchers at the University of California at Northridge have discovered another defensive strategy for dangerous bacteria — some of them can take a hit and die so that the rest of the colony remains unharmed.

To prove it, the researchers took a colonyE. coli and attacked it with an antimicrobial peptide called LL37. These peptides are naturally produced by human skin and organs for protection against external bacteria. To see how they move between the bacteria, the researchers painted them in glowing green.

Scientists have noticed that the colony wasa small group of bacteria that took the brunt of it. This group, of course, quickly died, but gave the rest of the bacteria the opportunity to live and reproduce. In fact, she sacrificed herself for the good of the whole colony.

To make sure of their findings, scientists do notbegan to be limited to physical experiences. They developed a mathematical model with a different number of bacteria and a dose of an antimicrobial agent - it was found that when molecules are absorbed, bacteria actually die, and the growth of the others slows down, but continues.

According to study co-author SattarTaheri-Aragi, the new discovery has caused many questions. Having carefully studied the behavior of bacteria, scientists hope to develop more effective drugs that include all the strategic moves of the pathogenic microbes.

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