(University of California - San Diego) Bioengineers at the University of California San Diego used genetic engineering and laboratory evolution to test the functionality of DNA placed into a new species and study how it can mutate to become functional if given sufficient evolutionary time.
CAMBRIDGE, MA -- Most antibiotics work by interfering with critical functions such as DNA replication or construction of the bacterial cell wall.However, these mechanisms represent only part of the full picture of how antibiotics act.In a new study of antibiotic action, MIT researchers developed a new machine-learning approach to discover an additional mechanism that helps some antibiotics kill bacteria.Exploiting this mechanism could help researchers to discover new drugs that could be used along with antibiotics to enhance their killing ability, the researchers say.Jason Yang, an IMES research scientist, is the lead author of the paper, which appears in the May 9 issue of Cell.Other authors include Sarah Wright, a recent MIT MEng recipient; Meagan Hamblin, a former Broad Institute research technician; Miguel Alcantar, an MIT graduate student; Allison Lopatkin, an IMES postdoc; Douglas McCloskey and Lars Schrubbers of the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability; Sangeeta Satish and Amir Nili, both recent graduates of Boston University; Bernhard Palsson, a professor of bioengineering at the University of California at San Diego; and Graham Walker, an MIT professor of biology.